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People v. Robinson, 2N.E.3d 383 (Ill. App. Ct. 2013)

Case (cite)
People v. Robinson, 2N.E.3d 383 (Ill. App. Ct. 2013)
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
Caryn Tucker & Peter Brennan
Summary of reasons for ruling
The court extensively reviewed federal & state cases on the admissibility regarding firearms examiniation expert testimonies and concluded that the expert testimony here is admissible without a Frye hearing taking notice of the uniform judicial opinoins that the toolmark & firearms identification is generally accepted and admissble at trial.
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


In Illinois, “a court may determine the general acceptance of a scientific principle/methodology in either of two ways: (1) based on the results of a Frye hearing; or (2) by taking judicial notice of unequivocal and undisputed prior judicial decisions or technical writings on the subject.”




Court commented on NAS2009 & PCAST: “[a]lthough the scholarly materials cited by defendants and the defendants in other cases may raise substantial criticisms of the methodology at issue in this case, no court has found these critiques sufficient to conclude the methodology is no longer generally accepted.”


“In short, in recent years, federal and state courts have had occasion to revisit the admission of expert testimony based on toolmark and firearms identification methodology. Such testimony has been the subject of lengthy and detailed hearings, and measured against the standards of both Frye and Daubert. Courts have considered scholarly criticism of the methodology, and occassionally placed limitations on the opinions expert may offer based on the methodology. Yet the judicial decisions uniformly conclude toolmark and firearms identification is generally accepted and admissible at trial.”