Skip to content

People v. Brown, No. 323887, 2016 WL 2731069 (Mich. Ct. App. May 10. 2016)

Case (cite)
People v. Brown, No. 323887, 2016 WL 2731069 (Mich. Ct. App. May 10. 2016)
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:
Gunshot residue
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Stephanie Horner
Summary of reasons for ruling
[reliability]: defendant argued that the state's expert testimony was not reliable because the specific software program that the expert used was not subject to peer review, the court dismissed the challenge, reasoning that peer review and publication of a theory or technique are not always necessary to meet the Daubert standard. Here, although the expert was no sure whether the software was peer-reviewed or not, she testified that it was modeled on the publication from the Scientific Working Group on Gunshot Residue and was approved by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directorsl; and that should be enough for the trial court to make a reasonable decision on its admissibility. [relevance]: evidence is admissible if it has "any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable" (very low standard).
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert; MRE 702
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


The expert also presented evidence of one-component and two-component particles (a gunshot residue particle must contain lead, barium, and antimony). Defendant argued that their probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger or unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, and misleading the jury. The court disagreed, reasoning that because the expert clarified in her tesitmony that she could not definityively say re the origin of those particles, it was correctly admitted.