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Whitfield v. Riley, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166498 (E. D. La. 2021)

Case (cite)
Whitfield v. Riley, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166498 (E. D. La. 2021)
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
John G. Peters, Jr.; Steven Howard
Summary of reasons for ruling
The district court determined the experts' reasoning or methodology "fits" the facts of the case and would assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence, i.e., whether it is relevant. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 591. An expert's testimony is not relevant and may be excluded if it is directed to an issue that is "well within the common sense understanding of jurors and requires no expert testimony." Vogler v. Blackmore, 352 F.3d 150, 155 (5th Cir. 2003).The Court held that Howard mdade improper conclusions about the practices of the NOPD. So, ehile his testimony will be permitted at trial, the Court notes that Howard should be placed on notice of his proper role — an expert lending his qualifications to assist the jury in its understanding of firearms and gunshot residue. As for Peters, the Court found that Peters's exper report properly recited the predicate facts upon which he relied when forming his conclusions, rather than recommending how the trier of fact should resolve any disputed facts, therefore his testimony is valid.
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Second standard
FRE 702
Did lower court hold a hearing
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Peters, Howard
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


This ruling on the Defendants’ motion in limine goes in depth into EACH firearms expert witness’s testimony, qualification, and methods.