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United States v. White, 2018 WL 4565140 (S.D.N.Y. 2018)

Case (cite)
United States v. White, 2018 WL 4565140 (S.D.N.Y. 2018)
New York
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
What was the ruling?
Correct to Admit
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Jonathan Fox
Summary of reasons for ruling
In admitting the testimony, the court said that other federal courts have long admitted ballistics testimony and that the Second Circuit had recently affirmed the kind of expert ballistic testimony at issue in the case. However, the court said that challenges raised in the 2008 and 2009 NRC reports were sufficient to require the testimony be limited.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Second standard
Rule 702
Did lower court hold a hearing
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)
Discussion of 2016 PCAST report (PCAST)
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Frye Ruling
Limiting testimony ruling
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
Ruling on qualifications of expert
Ruling on 702(a) – the expert will help / assist the jury
Ruling on 702(b) – the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data
Ruling on 702(c) – the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case


The Government’s detailed description of Detective Fox’s anticipated testimony is insufficient to persuade the Court that the concerns raised by such reports are unjustified. Specifically, the evidence fails to establish that the theory of uniqueness on which Detective Fox relies has been proven as a matter of empirical science, that there is any objective standard for declaring a “match,” or that there is any reliable basis on which Detective Fox could state the degree to which he is certain of his conclusions.




The general admissibility of expert testimony regarding ballistics analysis has been repeatedly recognized by federal courts. See, e.g., United States v. Glynn, 578 F. Supp. 2d 567, 569 (S.D.N.Y. 2008); Ashburn, 88 F. Supp. 3d at 247. Moreover, the Second Circuit has recently affirmed the admission of this kind of expert ballistics testimony. See Gil, 680 F. App’x at 14. As such, White’s motion to exclude Detective Fox’s testimony in its entirety is denied