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State v. Nowicki, 2020 WL 1910847 (N.M. 2020)

Case (cite)
State v. Nowicki, 2020 WL 1910847 (N.M. 2020)
Year
2020
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
Jay Stuart
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argues that the trial court erred in admitting the expert testimony without holding a Daubert hearing because the expert was unreliable and used invalid methods. The court holds that the testimony was reliable and admissible. The court explain that the expert testified as to identification experitments used by examiners, how these techniques were tested and peer-reviewed and his publications in the area; the guidelines and procedures governing testing; and that this was widely accepted in courts and scientific fields. "We see no reason to doubt the validity and reliability of the firearm forensics and tool mark analysis that Mr. Stuart relied on. Given the established reliability of the science, the district court properly decided against the necessity of a Daubert-Alberico hearing."
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Rule 11-702 NMRA; For Daubert hearing: "when the underlying science of an expert's testimony is “properly ... taken for granted because the reliability of the science in question has long been accepted, a defendant must make an affirmative showing that there is some reason to doubt the reliability of that science before a district court is obligated to require a reliability hearing.” 2010-NMCA-027, ¶ 28, 147 N.M. 761, 228 P.3d 1181."
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 (but cites to Appellate court decision)
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
(1); (2); (3); (5)
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

“First, Mr. Stuart described at trial the various experiments used by firearms examiners to hone firearm testing techniques. Second, Mr. Stuart accounted for how his scientific techniques had been tested and peer-reviewed, and described how he had published research in that area. Third, Mr. Stuart testified to the guidelines and procedure employed in firearm forensic testing and tool mark analysis. Lastly, we reiterate that the theories and techniques underlying firearm forensics and tool mark analysis have been widely accepted in the courts and scientific fields. See Fuentes, 2010-NMCA-027, ¶ 26.
{14} We see no reason to doubt the validity and reliability of the firearm forensics and tool mark analysis that Mr. Stuart relied on. Given the established reliability of the science, the district court properly decided against the necessity of a Daubert-Alberico hearing.”