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United States v. O’Driscoll, 2003 WL 1402040 (M.D.Pa. 2003)

Case (cite)
United States v. O'Driscoll, 2003 WL 1402040 (M.D.Pa. 2003)
Year
2003
State
Pennsylvania
Type of proceeding
Trial
Type of claim
Evidentiary
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
Admitted
What was the ruling?
Other; Trial court
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Prosecution
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Stephen G. Bunch
Summary of reasons for ruling
"At the hearing held today, Stephen G. Bunch, who has worked for the FBI in the area of balistics for seven years testified regarding the reliability of balistics testing. Based on his testimony we are satisfied that the field of balistics is a proper subject for expert testimony and meets the requirements of Rule 702. Upon review of the briefs submitted by the parties in this case and the evidence presented at today's hearing, we see no reason to exclude the ballistics evidence that was presented at O'Driscoll's 1984 trial for kidnapping."
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
702
Did lower court hold a hearing
N/A
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Bunch
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
N
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
N/A (reliability)
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

Court does not analyze the expert’s testimony. The court simply states that his testimony was sufficient to show that the field was reliable. There is no detail about what the expert’s testimony included.

 

Quoting U.S. v. Santiago, 199 F.Supp.2d 101: “The Court has not conducted a survey, but it can only imagine the number of convictions that have been based, in part, on expert testimony regarding the match of a particular bullet to a gun seized from a defendant or his apartment. It is the Court’s view that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Daubert and Kumho Tire, did not call this entire field of expert analysis into question. It is extremely unlikely that a juror would have the same experience and ability to match two or more microscopic images of bullets. In fact, in one recent opinion, the Supreme Court used the example of expert testimony on ballistics to provide a contrast to the marginal utility of polygraph evidence. The Court stated “unlike expert witnesses who testify about factual matters outside the juror’s knowledge, such as the analysis of fingerprints, ballistics, or DNA found at a crime scene, a polygraph expert can supply the jury only with another opinion, in addition to its own, about whether the witness was telling the truth.”