Skip to content

People v. Therman, 2021 WL 4859299 (Cal. App. Unpub. 2021)

Case (cite)
People v. Therman, 2021 WL 4859299 (Cal. App. Unpub. 2021)
Year
2021
State
California
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
Catherine Currier
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argued that trial court erred in admitting Currier's expert opinion testimony that the cartridge casing recovered from the scene was fired from the gun found in his waistband. He argued the trial court should have excluded Currier's testimony or conducted a Kelly hearing on firearms comparison evidence. He also contended that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to act as a "gatekeeper" as required by Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. University of Southern California. Thiis Court rejected these contentions, because (1) the PCAST report, which the Defendant relied upon in his argument for why he should have gotten a Kelly hearing, "falls short of establishing that a 'clear majority' of the relevant scientific community no longer accepts firearm toolmark comparsion as reliable, and (2) Defendant's Sargon argument amounted to an invitation to abandon the Kelly test in favor of the federal Daubert standard, which this Court cannot do.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Kelly-Frye
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Catherine Currier
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
None
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
PCAST
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Y
Frye Ruling
Y
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

Great discussion laying out what the Sargon gatekeeping principles require, as well as how the Frye-Kelly rule works. Emphatically rejects an “invitation to abandon the Kelly test in favor of the federal Daubert standard.”