Tuesday, April 20, 2004

3d Circuit Rejects Challenge to Agent's Testimony re Drug Jargon

In a nonprecedential opinion, the Third Circuit has upheld the admissibility of yet another law enforcement officer's expert testimony about drug jargon. The defendant protested that the government violated its discovery obligations by failing to provide a pretrial expert report, but the Third Circuit panel was satisfied with the 469-page affidavit provided to defense counsel prior to trial in which the agent's testimony was explained. The defendant also challenged the agent's qualifications on appeal, but failed to do so at trial. See United States v. Katzin, No. 02-2407 (3d Cir. Apr. 19, 2004) (Alito, Aldisert, & Becker, 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.