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State v. Fuentes, 228 P.3d 1181 (Ct. App. N.M. 2009)

Case (cite)
State v. Fuentes, 228 P.3d 1181 (Ct. App. N.M. 2009)
Year
2009
State
New Mexico
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
Michael G. Haag
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argued that the trial court's ruling that the testimony was reliable based solely on it being generally accepted was insufficient under Daubert. The court held that the trial court did not need to consider the other factors where reliability could be properly taken for granted because the court can avoid unnecessary reliability proceedings. Further, because the defendant "merely asserted that the science underlying" the firearms indetification technique was unrelaible without setting forth any basis for it, the court did not need to hold a Daubert hearing and the reliability could properly be taken for granted based on the history of accepting firearms identification in court.
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
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
N
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
N/A
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

” We are persuaded that, in the present matter, the district court appropriately exercised its discretionary authority in finding that the reliability of the science in question could properly be taken for granted. The science underlying the firearm forensics and tool mark analysis techniques employed in the present matter has long been held reliable in New Mexico. ”

 

We acknowledge that the federal district court in Monteiro commented that “[s]torm clouds … are gathering” over what appears to be a near universal assumption regarding the reliability of the science underlying firearm forensics and tool mark analyses. See Monteiro, 407 F.Supp.2d at 364. However, Defendant failed to persuade us that the district court erred when it assumed the reliability of the science underlying the firearm forensics and tool mark analysis techniques employed by Haag in the present matter.