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Lewis v. State, 2014 WL 7204708 (Ct. App. Tex. 2014)

Case (cite)
Lewis v. State, 2014 WL 7204708 (Ct. App. Tex. 2014)
Year
2014
State
Texas
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
Prosecution
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
James Jeffress
Summary of reasons for ruling
Appellant argues that the expert was not reliable because he had never testified about this specific type of toolmark before (magazines), could not recreate marks since the gun was never recovered, his procedures were controlled by investigators, and the articles submitted to trial court were not admitted into evidence so there was no evidence supporting his expert opinion. The court disagreed with all arguments. First, the court holds that the expert has sufficient experience in firearms identification and has done this type of identification at least 5 times, has published papers, and is sufficently educated and trained. Second, the court notes that the expert explained that it is unnecessary to have the recovered firearm in order to conclude that the bullets came from the same, unkown firearm. Third, the court holds that additional testing despite the investigator's statement that only one test bullet was necessary would not have had any impact on the expert's conclusion about the first cartridge. Finally, the court says that failing to admit the articles into evidence after submitting them to the court and being cross-examined on their contents was not enough to tip the scales away from reliability. The court distinguishes this case from Sexton by explaining that here, the expert submitted his testimony and powerpoint and thoroughly explained his conclusions compared to Sexton, where a treatise was submitted refuting the expert's asseretions.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Jeffress
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
N
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Y (highlights what the expert said in his trial court testimony - does not discuss further)
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)
The court does not analyze or note them as Daubert factors, but notes what the expert said in trial about each factor.
Ruling on qualifications of expert
Y
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
N

Notes