Skip to content

Garrett v. Commonwealth, 534 S.W.3d 217 (Ky. 2017)

Case (cite)
Garrett v. Commonwealth, 534 S.W.3d 217 (Ky. 2017)
Year
2017
State
Kentucky
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
Both
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Leah Collier
Summary of reasons for ruling
Because (1) the court agreed with the Otero court (see above) that despite the challenge from NAS2009, AFTE theory of identification still satisfies all Daubert factors, (2) when viewed in context, the state's expert testimony did not amount to absolute certainty that warrants exclusion, the state's expert testimony was correctly admitted.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert; KRE 702
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Leah Collier
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
William Tobin
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
NAS2009
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
Y
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
Y

Notes

Defendant argued here that the expert testimony should be excluded because the State’s expert failed to qualify her statement with “to a reasonable degree of certainty” – It is true that the State expert did not qualify her statement in any way but the court still ruled that it did not amount to an “absolute certainty” when put it “in the context of her entire testimony, which relects the varying condition of bullets and her subjective experience analyzing them.”

 

Assessing Collier’s conclusion that the bullets were fired from the same gun in the context of her entire testimony, which reflects the varying condition of bullets and her subjective experience analyzing them, we do not believe her testimony amounted to “absolute certainty” so as to require exclusion. Rather, we believe the jury was charged with assessing the reliability and credibility of her opinion, given all the evidence presented.