Skip to content

State v. Romero, 341 P.3d 493 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2014) [still good law re the admissibility of firearms identification testimony]

Case (cite)
State v. Romero, 341 P.3d 493 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2014) [still good law re the admissibility of firearms identification testimony]
Year
2014
State
Arizona
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
Frank Powell
Summary of reasons for ruling
agreeing with the Monteiro and Willock courts - the theory underneath firearms identification is sufficiently reliable
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert; 702
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Powell
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
None (court would not let defendant's expert testify)
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
NAS2009
Discussion of error rates / reliability
N
Frye Ruling
N
Limiting testimony ruling
Y
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
N (the original tesitmony was "to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty")
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
Y
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
N

Notes

matter of first impression case in Ariz. – rule as a matter of law that methodology governing firearms identification is sufficiently reliable under Daubert

 

Note: The trial court excluded testimony by a psychologist (Haber) criticizing firearms identification. The court found that the psychologist was not qualified as an expert (he had only reviewed literature on firearms identification and did not have any experience in the field). They also rejected the defendant’s offer to only have the expert testify about general critiques of the field. The appellate court found that it was correct to exclude this expert.