Saturday, August 05, 2006

3d Circuit Reverses Exclusion of Expert Evidence on Eyewitness Identification, Reverses Conviction, Remands for New Trial

The news is a couple of weeks old, by now. But while we were busy with other things, the Third Circuit issued an important decision reversing a trial court's exclusion of expert testimony on the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, in a carjacking case where the defense proceeded primarily on a mistaken-identity theory. See United States v. Brownlee, No. 04-4134 (3d Cir. July 18, 2006).


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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.