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People v. Rodriguez, 79 N.E.3d 345 (App. Ct. Ill. 2017) (note: judgment vacated on other grounds)

Case (cite)
People v. Rodriguez, 79 N.E.3d 345 (App. Ct. Ill. 2017) (note: judgment vacated on other grounds)
Year
2017
State
Illinois
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
does not name
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argues that the court erred in denying his motion to exclude the expert testimony or to grant him a Frye hearing. The court holds that firearms identification is not new or novel because it is has long been accepted in Illinois and even the out-of-state courts that have considered reliability issues have admitted the testimony. The court also notes that firearms identification has garnered greater widespread acceptance than other forensics fields. Further, the court explains that the NAS2009 report does not undermine the reliability of firearms identification to the point that it is no longer generally accepted.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Frye
Did lower court hold a hearing
N
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)
NAS2009
Discussion of error rates / reliability
N
Frye Ruling
Y
Limiting testimony ruling
N
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
N/A
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Y
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

The circuit court noted that it was unaware of any published opinion of any court stating that firearms evidence was not generally accepted in the scientific community, and Sebastian has cited none on appeal. The few out-of-state cases Sebastian cites—in which courts have raised concerns about the reliability of such evidence but have nonetheless held the methodology to be sufficiently reliable to be admitted, at least in some qualified form—do not create the same situation the McKown court was presented with, where legal challenges were resolved both for and against admissibility of the HGN test and the law was truly unsettled.. . . Similarly unhelpful are cases involving testimony based on scientific methodologies that, although sometimes deemed admissible, never achieved the same sort of widespread acceptance as ballistics evidence.