Sunday, March 28, 2004

7th Circuit Upholds ATF Agent's Testimony on Firearms' Nexus with Interstate Commerce

In an unpublished opinion, a Seventh Circuit panel has upheld testimony from an ATF expert that firearms traveled in interstate commerce, citing the expert's extensive training and experience. This is, of course, the usual result. (Apparently, ATF even has its own "Interstate Nexus School.") The court characterized defendant's objections, which were not raised at trial, as "insubstantial." See United States v. Williams, No. 02-4361 (7th Cir. Mar. 24, 2004) (Easterbrook, Manion, & Kanne, JJ.).
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.