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United States v. Hunt, 464 F.Supp.3d 1252 (W.D. Ok. 2020)

Case (cite)
United States v. Hunt, 464 F.Supp.3d 1252 (W.D. Ok. 2020)
Year
2020
State
Oklahoma
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
Howard Kong, Ronald Jones
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant only objected to the reliability of firearms identification testimony. The court held that firearms identification satisfies the Daubert factors and does a separate analysis for 702(d), finding that the experts satisfied this factor by writing detailed reports that were reviewed by other examiners.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
702, Daubert
Did lower court hold a hearing
N/A
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)
NAS2009; PCAST
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Y
Frye Ruling
N
Limiting testimony ruling
Y
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
Already agreed to follow the Justice Department limitations, so the court did not apply additional limitations but instead allowed the expert to testify "to a reasonable degree of ballistic certainty, a reasonable degree of certainty in the field of firearm toolmark identification, or any other version of that standard." (Under the Justice Department guidelines they can not do this.)
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
N
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
(1), (2), (3), (4), (5)
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
Y

Notes

“The Court finds that the limitations mentioned above and prescribed by the Department of Justice are reasonable, and that the Government’s experts should abide by those limitations. See Doc. No. *1262 81–11, p. 3. To that end, the Governments experts:
[S]hall not [1] assert that two toolmarks originated from the same source to the exclusion of all other sources…. [2] assert that examinations conducted in the forensic firearms/toolmarks discipline are infallible or have a zero error rate…. [3] provide a conclusion that includes a statistic or numerical degree of probability except when based on relevant and appropriate data…. [4] cite the number of examinations conducted in the forensic firearms/toolmarks discipline performed in his or her career as a direct measure for the accuracy of a proffered conclusion….. [5] use the expressions ‘reasonable degree of scientific certainty,’ ‘reasonable scientific certainty,’ or similar assertions of reasonable certainty in either reports or testimony unless required to do so by [the Court] or applicable law.
Id. As to the fifth limitation described above, the Court will permit the Government’s experts to testify that their conclusions were reached to a reasonable degree of ballistic certainty, a reasonable degree of certainty in the field of firearm toolmark identification, or any other version of that standard.”