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McCoy v. State, 2015 WL 6087573 (Ct. Spec. App. Md. 2015)

Case (cite)
McCoy v. State, 2015 WL 6087573 (Ct. Spec. App. Md. 2015)
Year
2015
State
Maryland
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
Daniel Lamont
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant challenged whether the methods used by the expert were reliably applied to the facts of the case because there was no evidence in his report that he based his conclusions on any individual or subclass characteristics and that his 3-page report was insufficient. The court held that the report was sufficient because the trail court concluded he was an expert and his results were verified by another examiner. Further, the court held that the expert's testimony that he looked at every marking on the bullet was sufficient to show that he reliably applied his methods in this case.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Frye/Reed
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Lamont
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
N
Frye Ruling
N
Limiting testimony ruling
Y
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
No limititations on testimony required under Maryland law
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Y (no limiting testimony)
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
Y

Notes

“Q: Now, when you review or rather analyze these casings under a microscope, you have to look at the whole piece of evidence; correct?
A: Correct.
Q: And would you say that it’s a more holistic approach?
*6 A: Uh, yes, I mean I am looking at every marking I can see on the cartridge case to see if it has repeated onto the other, I don’t see one line and I’m done, you know.
(Emphasis added).
This brief, but telling, exchange is evidence that Lamont conducted a sufficient investigation of the cartridge casings before reaching his conclusion that the cartridges found at the scene of the crime matched the cartridges recovered from McCoy’s vehicle. That another firearms examiner conducted his own, independent investigation only adds to our confidence in Lamont’s conclusion.”

 

Although there is debate amongst various federal jurisdictions about the reliability of toolmark evidence, Maryland has continued to hold that firearm toolmark analysis is generally accepted within the scientific community and is reliable.