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United States v. Tucker, 2020 WL 93951 (E.D. N.Y. 2020)

Case (cite)
United States v. Tucker, 2020 WL 93951 (E.D. N.Y. 2020)
Year
2020
State
New York
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
Matthew Parlo
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant seeks to exclude the expert's testimony because the PCAST report has shown that ballistics identification is unreliable and the expert applied the method in an unreliable way. The court disagrees. The expert here is testifying that the bullets came from three separate guns, not from a specific gun, and is therefore only relying on class characteristics which is not challenged by the PCAST report. The court also denies the request to limit testimony since it is solely about class characteristics. Finally, although the court does not believe the expert's explanation of a second examiner verifying the results, it states that because the expert is subject to cross and the examination is well-documented, it is admissible.
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
Parlo
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009) or PCAST report (PCAST)
PCAST
Discussion of error rates / reliability
N
Frye Ruling
N
Limiting testimony ruling
Y
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
not limited
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
Y
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

“While one cannot determine whether a bullet came from a specific gun using class characteristics, one can determine whether bullets were fired from the same type of gun. Therefore, by grouping recovered bullets by their shared class characteristics, an examiner can determine the minimum number of contributing guns. Neither the PCAST Report or the NRC Report challenged the foundational validity of the “simpler between-class comparisons.””