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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)
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
What was the ruling?
Correct to Admit
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
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)
Second standard
Did lower court hold a hearing
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)
Discussion of 2016 PCAST report (PCAST)
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Frye Ruling
Limiting testimony ruling
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
Ruling on qualifications of expert
Ruling on 702(a) – the expert will help / assist the jury
Ruling on 702(b) – the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data
Ruling on 702(c) – the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case


“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).”