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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)
Year
2009
State
Mississippi
Type of proceeding
Trial
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
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)
FRE 702; Daubert
Did lower court hold a hearing
Y
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
Y
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

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.”