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State v. Raynor, 189 A.3d 652 (Conn. App. Ct. 2018)

Case (cite)
State v. Raynor, 189 A.3d 652 (Conn. App. Ct. 2018)
Year
2018
State
Connecticut
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
James Stephenson
Summary of reasons for ruling
It is settled law in Conn that firearms identification expert testimony can be admissible without a Porter (Daubert)
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
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)
NAS2009
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Frye Ruling
Limiting testimony ruling
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
N
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Y (Legnani)
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
Y
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
N

Notes

Defendant cited to the “more likely than not” case (Glynn) to support his contention that the expert’s testimony should be limited.

 

In Conn, irearms identification testimony does not need a Daubert-kind hearing (Porter hearing) to be admissble because “the scientific principles of ballistics and firearms analysis are very well established and can be admitted on a mere showing of relevance.” Legnani. Although Legnani was decided before NAS2009, the report, along with other similar reports, “did not overrule or otherwise abrogate the existing case law in this state; nor do the district court cases or the cases from other states that the defendant has cited in support of this claim.”

 

the importance of having defense experts: “more importantly, the defendant did not proffer his own expert witness to testify that the science of firearm and toolmark identification is not reliable.”

 

“The evidence admitted during the cross-examination of [the expert] included the flaws and criticisms of firearm and toolmark identification. The jury was free to give this evidence as much or as little weight as it saw fit.”

 

The court also denied defendant’s request to limit the expert’s testimony. The expert testified that out of 15 cartridge casings, 12 of them were “positively matched” and three of them failed to produce conclusive results.