Skip to content

People v. Lewis, 127 N.E. 3d 1127 (Ill. App. 2019)

Case (cite)
People v. Lewis, 127 N.E. 3d 1127 (Ill. App. 2019)
Year
2019
State
Illinois
Type of proceeding
Appellate
Type of claim
Evidentiary; Due Process; Ineffective assistance of counsel
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
Admitted
What was the ruling?
No Error due to Harmless Error
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Prosecution
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Kurt Zielinski; Leah Kane
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant Juan Lewis was convicted of aggravated discharge of a firearm and sentenced to 16 years in prison. On appeal, Mr. Lewis argues that his right to confront witnesses was violated when the State presented the conclusions of one firearms identification expert through the testimony of another expert, who did not do the testing that led to those conclusions. Mr. Lewis did not object to the testimony at trial but asks us to reverse for plain error. We agree with Mr. Lewis that this testimony was improper but agree with the State that an objection to this testimony was required, and therefore, we affirm.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
N/A
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Kane Zielinski
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
N/A
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
NAS2009
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Y
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)
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
N

Notes

Court engaged in “plain error analysis” (as opposed to harmless error): “Here, although we have found error occurred at trial, this error simply does not rise to the level of plain error in this case. Plain error occurs where either the evidence was “so closely balanced that the error alone threatened to tip the scales of justice against the defendant” or the error was “so serious that it affected the fairness of the defendant’s trial and challenged the integrity of the judicial process.””