Skip to content

State v. Britt, 718 S.E.2d 725 (N.C.Ct.App. 2011)

Case (cite)
State v. Britt, 718 S.E.2d 725 (N.C.Ct.App. 2011)
North Carolina
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
Ineffective assistance of counsel
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
Theresa Tanner, Peter Ware
Summary of reasons for ruling
Because (1) it is not necessary for experts to be members of a professional organization, (2) it is not necessary for parties to present verification of an expert's training, (3) the state has presented enough evidence to enable the trial court to make a reasonable ruling that the experts in question are qualified, the appellate court rejected defendant's challenge that the experts are unqualified.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Rule 702
Second standard
Did lower court hold a hearing
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Tanner, Ware
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


Defendant also challenged the testimony’s overall reliability. But since the ruling on reliability in this case was later overruled by statute (NC adopted Daubert), that part of the ruling was no longer current positive law.




“It is not necessary that an expert be experienced with the identifcal subject matter at issue ro to be a specialist, licensed, or even engaged in a specific profession.” State v. Evangelista, 353 S.E.2d 375, 383 (1987).


Note: Defendant also had two experts (John Dillon and William Conrad). The trial court originally held in the pretrial hearing that the state’s witnesses would be limited, but in the defense’s opening statement they said their experts would testify that a match could not be made so the trail court reversed their pretrial hearing holding and allowed testimony without limitation