Monday, February 22, 2010

Full Daubert Hearing Is Not Always Required To Admit Expert Testimony

From Federal Evidence Review:

"Fifth Circuit holds that “absent novel challenges, fingerprint evidence is sufficiently reliable to satisfy Rule 702 and Daubert,” and a Daubert hearing is not necessarily required, in United States v. John, _ F.3d. _ (5th Cir. Feb. 9, 2010) (No. 08-10459) A recent Fifth Circuit case considered an appeal that contended that the trial court failed to hold a Daubert hearing before admitting fingerprint expert testimony. The circuit noted that whether a Daubert hearing is required before an expert testifies generally lies within the discretion of the trial court and was not required for fingerprint testimony that did not raise any novel issues.

In the case, the defendant served as a Citigroup account manager. She accessed the company computers and obtained customer account information which she provided to her half-brother who used the accounts fraudulently. At her trial, the government presented an expert witness who identified her fingerprints on Citigroup documents which were possessed by her half-brother. Following her conviction, she claimed the trial court had “abdicated its gatekeeping function” by not holding a Daubert hearing, under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1999)."

Click here to read the rest of the article.


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