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U.S. v. Pugh, 2009 WL 2928757 (S.D. Miss. 2009)

Case (cite)
U.S. v. Pugh, 2009 WL 2928757 (S.D. Miss. 2009)
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
What was the ruling?
Correct to Admit
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Brandon Giroux
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant argues that testimony should be excluded because of unreliable processes for peer review and lack of error rate information and the possibility for false match. The court disagrees, stating that other than "magazine articles" and opinions from other federal district courts, the defendant provided no case from the Fifth Circuit supporting that firearms identification testimony is unreliable and that accepting this testimony is common practice in the Fifth Circuit.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Second standard
Rule 702
Did lower court hold a hearing
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)
Discussion of 2016 PCAST report (PCAST)
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Frye Ruling
Limiting testimony ruling
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
Ruling on qualifications of expert
Ruling on 702(a) – the expert will help / assist the jury
Ruling on 702(b) – the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data
Ruling on 702(c) – the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case


The entirety of the analysis on firearms testimony: “Matching spent shell casings to the weapon that fired them is a recognized method of ballistics testing. See United States v. Washington, 550 F.2d 320, 324 (5th Cir.1977). Other than the argument raised by magazine articles cited by the defense and an out-of-state federal district court ruling, the Court has not found a case from the Fifth Circuit which shows that Giroux’s findings are unreliable. On the contrary, firearm comparison testing has widespread acceptance in this Circuit. United States v. Hicks, 389 F.3d 514, 527–8 (5th Cir.2004), cert. denied 546 U.S. 1089, 126 S.Ct. 1022, 163 L.Ed.2d 853 (2006). The Court finds no reason to grant the motion for new trial based on Giroux’s testimony.”