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Ex parte Hinton, 172 So.3d 348 (Alabama 2012)

Case (cite)
Ex parte Hinton, 172 So.3d 348 (Alabama 2012)
Year
2012
State
Alabama
Type of proceeding
Appellate
Type of claim
Evidentiary; Ineffective assistance of counsel
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
Admitted
What was the ruling?
Error 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
N/A
Summary of reasons for ruling
On February 24, 2014, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari review and vacated this Court's judgment affirming the circuit court's denial of Hinton's claim that his trial counsel had been ineffective for not hiring a qualified firearms-identification expert for his defense. Hinton v. Alabama, 571 U.S. , 134 S.Ct. 1081, 188 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2014). The Supreme Court concluded that counsel's failure to know that the statutory-funding limit had been lifted constituted deficient performance under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984), but that no Alabama court had yet addressed the proper prejudice inquiry under Strickland: Whether there is a reasonable [*362] probability that, had Hinton's trial counsel known that the statutory-funding limit for experts [**3] had been lifted, counsel would have hired an expert other than the expert he hired -- i.e., an expert who would have instilled in the jury a reasonable doubt as to Hinton's guilt. Therefore, the Supreme Court remanded this case for an Alabama court to determine whether Hinton was prejudiced by his counsel's deficient performance.In accordance with the United States Supreme Court's opinion, we remanded this case for the circuit court to make specific written findings of fact regarding the prejudice inquiry set out by the United States Supreme Court. Hinton v. State, [Ms. CR-04-0940, June 13, 2014] 172 So. 3d 355, 2014 Ala. Crim. App. LEXIS 48 (Ala. Crim. App. 2014) (opinion after remand by the United States Supreme Court). On remand, the circuit court, in a well reasoned order, found that counsel, in fact, would have hired a different and more qualified expert had counsel known that the statutory-funding limit had been lifted and that there was a reasonable probability that the testimony of a different and more qualified expert would have instilled in the jury a reasonable doubt as to Hinton's guilt. Therefore, the circuit court granted Hinton's Rule 32 petition.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Rule 32
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
N/A
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
N/A
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
N
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
N
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

NOTE: On remand the court affirmed that Payne was qualified as an expert and said: “In accordance with the Alabama Supreme Court’s instructions, we have “review[ed] the circuit court’s judgment that Payne was qualified to testify as a firearms-identification expert” under “a de novo standard of review,” and we hold that the circuit court did not err in finding that Payne was qualified as an expert in firearms identification. See Hinton VI, in which this Court detailed the qualifications of Andrew Payne as gleaned from the record, set out the law in effect at the time of Hinton’s trial, and explained why Payne was qualified as an expert in firearms identification.” (Hinton IV is the 2008 case)