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State v. Anderson, 624 S.E.2d 393 (N.C. App. 2006)

Case (cite)
State v. Anderson, 624 S.E.2d 393 (N.C. App. 2006)
Year
2006
State
North Carolina
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
Teresa Powell
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argues that the expert did not comply with the generally accepted methods for firearms identification under Daubert. The court, however, notes that NC is not a Daubert state and therefore the defendant has argued the wrong standard. The court explains that under NC law, the court must look to precedent first and that NC precedent has upheld the reliability of similar firearms identification testimony. The articles the defendant relies on to show that the expert violated accepted practices by failing to document her work were not submitted at trial and therefore cannot be used on appeal to establish abuse of discretion. Defendants other arguments go to the weight of the testimony, not its admissibility (subjective nature of testimony; corrosion of gun).
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Rule 702
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)
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
Y
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
N/A (not a Daubert state)
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
Y
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
N

Notes

According to our Supreme Court, “once the trial court makes a preliminary determination that the scientific or technical area underlying a qualified expert’s opinion is sufficiently reliable (and, of course, relevant), any lingering questions or controversy concerning the quality of the expert’s conclusions go to the weight of the testimony rather than its admissibility.”

 

Our Supreme Court has previously upheld the admission of similar firearms or ballistics testimony. See State v. Gainey, 355 N.C. 73, 88–89, 558 S.E.2d 463, 473–74 . . . ; State v. Felton, 330 N.C. 619, 638, 412 S.E.2d 344, 356 (1992) . . . Defendant does not address this precedent, but rather argues that the State did not meet its burden because “[t]he State presented no evidence substantiating the scientific validity” of Agent Powell’s comparisons of the bullets and the gun.2 As Howerton and Morgan establish, however, the State was not necessarily required to do so