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Ferrell v. Commonwealth, 14 S.E.2d 293 (Va. 1941)

Case (cite)
Ferrell v. Commonwealth, 14 S.E.2d 293 (Va. 1941)
Type of proceeding
Type of 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
FBI expert (doesn't name)
Summary of reasons for ruling
The court held that the expert opinion was properly admitted despite not performing any tests in front of the jury because it is within the trial court's discretion whether the witness must perform those tests before the jury. "In the instant case, a prosecution for homicide, an expert of the Federal Bureau of Investigation expressed an opinion that a shotgun shell found near decedent's house was fired from a gun belonging to accused. The admission of this testimony was assigned as error, because the witness was not required to make tests before the jury showing how he arrived at his conclusion. Held: That there was no merit in the assignment of error, since to require such tests was largely a matter within the discretion of the trial court and whether the witness should have been required to bring with him the paraphernalia of his office, cameras, microscopes, etc., was a matter for the court."
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
"The admission of evidence of experiments, or permitting them to be performed in court, is a matter peculiarly within the discretion of the trial judge, and this discretion will not be interfered with unless it is apparent that it has been abused." "An expert's testimony is admissible not only when scientific knowledge is required, but when experience and observation in a special calling give the expert knowledge of a subject beyond that of persons of common intelligence and ordinary experience. The scope of such evidence extends to any subject in respect of which one may derive special knowledge by experience, when his knowledge of the matter in relation to which his opinion is asked is such, or so great, that it will probably aid the trier in the search for the truth."
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) or 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