Thursday, July 06, 2006

First Circuit Upholds Footwear Impression Testimony

The First Circuit has published an opinion upholding testimony from a footwear impression expert, over objections similar to those commonly raised against testimony on fingerprint and handwriting identification. See United States v. Mahone, No. 05-1492 (1st Cir. July 5, 2006) (Lipez, Howard, & Hug, JJ.).

The panel's opinion contains this interesting statement, on which the opinion does not elaborate: "[The footwear impression expert] offered a potential error rate of zero for the method, stating that any error is attributable to examiners." We're guessing that this statement, offered en passant, is not intended to announce a more general rule of law under which human error doesn't factor into a methodology's "error rate." The intended meaning, we take it, is that according to the expert, there exist objective standards governing the technique's application, such that if those standards are followed, there will be (again according to the expert) no false positives.


Anonymous writes ...

what a joke
The ACE-V method is bogus
"The method has been tested in published studies" Really? where? shouldn't you maybe cite at least one of those studies?
"Homer offered a potential error rate of zero" hmmm, no cite here either. Wonder where she got that number?

5:29 PM  

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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.