Skip to content

State v. Campbell, 239 N.W. 715 (Iowa 1931)

Case (cite)
State v. Campbell, 239 N.W. 715 (Iowa 1931)
Year
1931
State
Iowa
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
Calvin H. Goddard
Summary of reasons for ruling
Qualifications: The witness's experience, education, and training qualified him as an expert. Further, the court notes that a Kentucky case on firearms identification "efers as authority to an article written upon the subject of Forensic Ballistics by Calvin H. Goddard, who is the witness in the instant case."Defedants also argues the witness stated his opinion as fact. The court disagrees. "The conviction or conclusion of an expert or skilled witness is, after all, only his belief, his opinion, or best judgment. The question objected to did not ask for the fact as to whether or not the two bullets passed through the same barrel, and neither did the answer state as a fact that the two bullets passed through the same barrel. The fact was left for the determination of the jury, taking into consideration the opinion of the witness Goddard upon the subject and the credibility which the jury saw fit to give to him as a skilled or expert witness. "
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
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/A
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
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

Note: there are long excerpts in the opinion from the expert’s testimony and the questions he was asked.

 

“id that portion of the question, asking for the conclusion reached by him from an examination of the pictures and his answer, “The conclusion I reached as a result of a study of these pictures was to the effect that both of these bullets had passed through the same barrel,” invade the province of the jury? We answer in the negative. The jury had the benefit of the expert, scientific study, special training, knowledge, skill, and experience of the witness, and a full explanation of the exhibits. The theory upon which testimony, such as was given by the witness Goddard, is admissible, is that the subject–matter of the inquiry is so peculiarly within the range of scientific knowledge or special training and skill that to exclude it would work a denial of the only proof competent to establish the fact. ”

 

The conviction or conclusion of an expert or skilled witness is, after all, only his belief, his opinion, or best judgment. The question objected to did not ask for the fact as to whether or not the two bullets passed through the same barrel, and neither did the answer state as a fact that the two bullets passed through the same barrel. The fact was left for the determination of the jury, taking into consideration the opinion of the witness Goddard upon the subject and the credibility which the jury saw fit to give to him as a skilled or expert witness. In Evans v. Commonwealth, 230 Ky. 411, 19 S.W.(2d) 1091, 1096, 66 A. L. R. 360, the court, in passing upon this proposition, said: “The statement made by this witness of which the defendant is complaining was this: ‘I am convinced as a result of this test that the bullet in evidence was fired through the pistol in evidence 376281.’ A reading of that answer shows the witness did not state that as a fact, but stated that, from his observation, he was convinced. In other words, he stated that as his opinion.”
The witness Goddard, as shown by his testimony, has made a special study of and is experienced in the subjects concerning which he was interrogated and is shown to have had suitable instruments and equipment with which to make the test inquired about, and therefore, as such expert or skilled witness, his opinion upon the subject of inquiry is competent, a rejection of which would be a serious impairment of the rights of the state in the investigation of truth.