Skip to content

United States v. Cazares, 788 F.3d 956 (9th Cir. 2015)

Case (cite)
United States v. Cazares, 788 F.3d 956 (9th Cir. 2015)
Year
2015
State
Ninth Circuit
Type of proceeding
Appellate
Type of claim
Evidentiary
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
Admitted
What was the ruling?
No Error due to Harmless Error
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Prosecution
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Diana Paul
Summary of reasons for ruling
The defendant argues that the expert should not have been allowed to testify to "scientific certainty." The court held that, although the testimony to scientific certainty was important, it was subject to extensive cross-examination which acknoweldged the subjectivity involved in firearms indentification. The court holds that "a reasonable degree of certainty in the ballistics field" is the proper testimony but that "scientific certainty" was harmless error.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Daubert
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)
N
Discussion of error rates / reliability
N
Frye Ruling
N
Limiting testimony ruling
Y
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
"reasonable degree of certainty in the ballistics field"
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
N
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
N

Notes

Only issue is the “scientific certainty” characterization, not the general admissibility of firearms identification testimony