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Rice v. McGinley, 2021 WL 2582303 (E. D. Pa. 2021)

Case (cite)
Rice v. McGinley, 2021 WL 2582303 (E. D. Pa. 2021)
Year
2021
State
Pennsylvania
Type of proceeding
Federal habeas corpus
Type of claim
Ineffective assistance of counsel
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
Mr. Finor
Summary of reasons for ruling
Mr. Rice's able counsel has failed to produce an expert report or affidavit disputing the testimony of Mr. Finor, the Commonwealth's firearms identification expert. Given counsel's sophistication and resourcefulness, it is safe to conclude that no qualified expert would dispute Mr. Finor's opinion. Petitioner's generalized critique of the discipline of firearms and toolmark identification is unconvincing. Mr. Rice's suggestion that an unqualified and biased witness might have been available to give a suspect opinion on the unreliability of firearms [*54] and toolmark identification is not a showing that trial counsel's performance was deficient. Nor is it a showing that Mr. Rice was prejudiced.Mr. Rice has not shown deficient representation by trial counsel, and certainly not prejudice. Neither has Mr. Rice demonstrated that the procedural default of the ineffectiveness claim under Coleman should be forgiven, under Martinez. He has not shown that his PCRA counsel was ineffective for failing to bring a claim that trial counsel was ineffective, because that claim is meritless. PCRA counsel cannot be ineffective for failing to bring a meritless claim.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Dr. Finor
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
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
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
N
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
5
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

Interesting inference: “Mr. Rice’s able counsel has failed to produce an expert report or affidavit disputing the testimony of Mr. Finor, the Commonwealth’s firearms identification expert. Given counsel’s sophistication and resourcefulness, it is safe to conclude that no qualified expert would dispute Mr. Finor’s opinion.”