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People v. Gear, 2007 WL 2259026 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007)

Case (cite)
People v. Gear, 2007 WL 2259026 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007)
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
Michael Saggs
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant has forfeited any objection to the admission of Saggs's testimony by failing to raise it in the trial court. (Evid.Code, § 353; People v. Holt (1997) 15 Cal.4th 619, 666-667.) In any event, although Saggs accepted the prosecutor's suggestion that his conclusion was “definitive,” he did not claim that his conclusion was an “absolute certainty” or that it possessed any “arbitrary degree of statistical certainty.” (U.S. v. Monteiro, supra, 407 F.Supp.2d at p. 372.)
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


I’m not sure how relevant this case is, but I thought that it was interesting that the court makes a distinction between the expert making a “definitive” conlcusion versus a conclusion of “absolute certainty” or a statistical degree of certainty.




Defendant has not shown that Saggs, who as of the time of trial had at least 25 years of experience in the area of firearm and tool mark identification, was not qualified to employ that methodology or that he applied it incorrectly in this case. Defendant claims Saggs failed to establish that the same weapon was used in each instance, because Saggs “had no weapon to test fire.” But Saggs specifically testified that he does not always need the gun in order to establish that two bullets were fired from a single firearm. Saggs’s testimony was “reasonable in nature, credible, and of solid value,” and thus was substantial evidence.