Skip to content

People v. Smith, 2014 WL 1493905 (App. Ct. Ill. 2014)

Case (cite)
People v. Smith, 2014 WL 1493905 (App. Ct. Ill. 2014)
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
Brian Mayland; Aimee Stevens
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argues the court erred in not conducting a Frye hearing on the firearms identification evidence and that in a Frye hearing it would have been excluded. The court holds that the trial court did not need to hold a Frye hearing and that the evidence would not be inadmissible. The court relies on Robinson, noting that the defendant here did not cite to any new authority that was not examined in Robinson and found to be generally accepted in Illinois. Further, the court notes that neither expert in this case testified to any degree of certainty and both said that their conclusions were subjective. Finally, the court explained that regardless of a Frye hearing, admitting the firearms testimony would have been harmless error given the other evidence.
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


The court did not limit the testimony of the experts, but that may have been due to the experts limiting their own testimony: “Additionally, like the experts in Robinson, Mayland and Stevens testified that their conclusions were their subjective opinions based on their comparisons of the characteristics of the bullets and fragments. Neither testified that their opinions were scientifically certain, and Mayland specifically testified that he could not attach any type of probability to his identifications”




“Like the defendant in this case, the defendant in Robinson argued that the trial court should have excluded the toolmark and firearms identification evidence under Frye because it lacked a scientific basis. The court disagreed, finding that, while “federal and state courts have had occasion to revisit the admission of expert testimony based on toolmark and firearms identification methodology,” the courts have “uniformly” concluded that toolmark and firearms identification methodology is generally accepted and admissible at trial.”