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State v. Felton, 412 S.E.2d 344 (N.C. 1992)

Case (cite)
State v. Felton, 412 S.E.2d 344 (N.C. 1992)
North Carolina
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
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
Eugene Bishop
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant objected that the evidence was irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial. The court held that was relevant as evidence linking the defendant to the crime and that it was not unfairly prejudicial because there was significan similarities between the bullets.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Second standard
Did lower court hold a hearing
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)
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


Note: This case does object to the testimony on reliability grounds and the court does not analyze firearms identification as a field. The expert in this case testified to the similarities between the bullets recovered from the victim’s body and bullets at the defendants home, but said they could not testify as to whether the bullets were shot from the same gun and testified that this type of bullet was common. “Though the bullets could have been fired from the same gun, Bishop could not conclude that they actually were fired from the same gun. Bishop also testified that CCI bullets commonly are sold and that many different kinds of .25 caliber guns could produce the rifling characteristics exhibited by these bullets.”