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State v. Romero, 365 P.3d 358 (Ariz. Super. Ct. June 1, 2016) [reverse lower court’s decision re defense expert]

Case (cite)
State v. Romero, 365 P.3d 358 (Ariz. Super. Ct. June 1, 2016) [reverse lower court's decision re defense expert]
Year
2016
State
Arizona
Type of proceeding
Appellate
Type of claim
Evidentiary
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
Admitted
What was the ruling?
Remand
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Defense
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Dr. Ralph Haber
Summary of reasons for ruling
the lower court improperly focused on whether the expert was qualified in firearms identification; rather, the issue should be whether the expert was qualified in experimental design and he was. Because the expert witnesses may helpfully educate the fact-finder about general principles without considering the facts of a particular case, the defense expert's lack of experience in performing toolmark analysis may only affect the weight of his testimony but not bar it from being admissible.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Az. 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).
Expert at issue here had not been offered until after the evidentiary hearing allowing Powell's testimony
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
Y
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

This is the only defense expert case out of all fifty firearm cases. The defense introduced expert on experimental design – the purpose of retaining this expert is to show jury that the methods underlying toolmark analysis are not based on the scientific method but instead reflect subjective determinations by the examiner conducting the analysis

 

The defense expert in question has relevant education experience and operates a consulting business through which he analyzes forensic evidence methods and makes himself available to testify about their consistency with accepted methods of scientific experimentation.