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In re Personal Restraint of Trapp, 2011 WL 5966266 (Ct. App. Wash. 2011)

Case (cite)
In re Personal Restraint of Trapp, 2011 WL 5966266 (Ct. App. Wash. 2011)
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
Ernest Peele; Raymon Kusumi; George Kass
Summary of reasons for ruling
Petitioner argues that a letter from the FBI saying that CBLA is unreliable and may be misleading and the NAS2009 report constitute newly discovered evidence. The court holds that the NAS report constitutes impeachment material, not newly discovered evidence and that the FBI letter would not have changed the outcome in the trial due to other overwhelming evidence and denies the petition.
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


On the NAS report as new evidence: “Trapp’s claim that the NAS report constitutes “substantive evidence” is misguided. The report does not call for a reassessment of toolmark evidence presented in cases that have already been tried, nor does it address the specific type of toolmark evidence presented in Trapp’s case—head stamps created from a bunter. And, while the report points to the subjectivity of toolmark identification and lack of a statistical basis for analysis, this information is not new and was available at the time of Trapp’s trial. Any “new” information contained in the report merely provides a general basis for challenging the admissibility of evidence in future trials or possible avenues for impeachment. Furthermore, Trapp does not identify any authority that requires or persuades us to overturn a conviction simply because general scientific studies contradict prior opinion proffered at trial by expert witnesses.”