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Cooper v. State, 340 So.2d 91 (Ala. Crim. App. 1976)

Case (cite)
Cooper v. State, 340 So.2d 91 (Ala. Crim. App. 1976)
Year
1976
State
Alabama
Type of proceeding
Appellate
Type of claim
Evidentiary
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
Admitted
What was the ruling?
Correct to Admit
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Prosecution
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Charles Wesley Smith
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argued that the expert was not qualified. The court held that, although not many specifics were given to establish the witness as an expert, there was enough "general information" put forth that "was probably sufficient to support the trial court's ruling, but barely so." The court reasoned that the thorough cross-examination of the witness proved that he was an expert in ballistics.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
White v. State, 314 So.2d 857 (1975) "The criterion for admission of expert testimony is that the witness, by study, practice, experience, or observation as to the particular subject, should have acquired a knowledge beyond that of ordinary witnesses. . . .’"
Did lower court hold a hearing
N/A
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
N/A
Discussion of error rates / reliability
N
Frye Ruling
N
Limiting testimony ruling
N
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
N/A
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
N
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
N/A
Ruling on qualifications of expert
Y
Ruling on 702(a) – the expert will help / assist the jury
N
Ruling on 702(b) – the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data
N
Ruling on 702(c) – the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods
N
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
N

Notes

“Such a predicate was probably sufficient to support the trial court’s ruling, but barely so. In any event, counsel for appellant subjected the witness to a thorough and sifting cross-examination, and by his detailed and descriptive answers, the witness conclusively proved himself to be an expert on the subject of ballistics. Cross-examination is one of the methods available to an appellant as a safeguard ‘against being railroaded by the testimony of a mountebank or charlatan’ as set out in Frazier v. State, 40 Ala.App. 67, 112 So.2d 212 (1958).”