Friday, December 15, 2006

No DNA = No Rape? Not So, Says Texas High Court

Reversing a lower appellate court's decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has held that a trial court legitimately excluded a nurse's expert testimony in a sexual assault case. The nurse opined that because there was no DNA or other physical evidence linking the defendant to an alleged rape, it was fair to conclude that no sexual assault occurred. See Vela v. State, No. PD-1388-04 (Tex. Ct. Crim. App. Dec. 13, 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.