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Revis v. State, 101 So.3d 247 (Ala. Crim. App. 2011)

Case (cite)
Revis v. State, 101 So.3d 247 (Ala. Crim. App. 2011)
Year
2011
State
Alabama
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
Tammi Fulgham
Summary of reasons for ruling
Because in Alabama neither Daubert nor Frye applies to the admissibility of firearms identification testimonies, defendant's challenge that the toolmark expert's testimony is inadmissbile under Daubert is misplaced.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert; 702
Did lower court hold a hearing
N/A
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)
N
Discussion of error rates / reliability
N
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
Y
Ruling on 702(a) – the expert will help / assist the jury
Y
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

1. In Alabama, firearms identification testimonies are generally admissble. (“In Alabama, a properly qualified expert should be permitted to testify whether or not a particular shell was fired from a specific firearm based upon his comparison of the distinctive marks on the shell with the physical features of the firearm.”) 2. Firearms identification testimy is not a type of scientific evidence. 3. Therefore, it is not governed by Daubert or Frye. 4. It is admissable if it satisfies the requirements of Rule 702: (1) the witness is qualified as an expert in the field and (2) the testimony assisted the jury in determing a fact in issue. 5. In other words, the threshold for the admissbility of firearm identification testimony is pretty low in Alabama.

 

6. By statute, Daubert only applies to DNA evidence. 7. Frye only applies to scientific evidence. 8. If [a forensic technique] involves “subjective observation and comparisons based on the expert’s training, skills, or experience . . . it does not constitute scientific evidence.”