Saturday, February 17, 2007

DC Circuit Upholds Modus Operandi Testimony in Drug Case

The D.C. Circuit has published an opinion upholding the trial court's admission of expert testimony on common methods employed in narcotics trafficking, rejecting arguments that the evidence was: (1) unhelpful because duplicative; (2) not disclosed in pretrial discovery; and (3) impermissible expert testimony on mens rea. See United States v. Martinez, No. 06-3031 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 16, 2007) (Ginsburg, Rogers, & Kavanaugh, JJ.).



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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.