Saturday, February 17, 2007

Third Circuit Upholds Limitation on Fingerprint Expert's Testimony

The Third Circuit has issued a nonprecedential opinion upholding the trial court's limitations on testimony by the defendant's fingerprint expert in a bank robbery trial. The district court permissibly found that the witness was qualified to offer a critique of the prosecution expert's methodology for comparing latent prints, but not to perform a comparison herself. See United States v. Faines, No. 05-4006 (3d Cir. Feb. 14, 2006) (Scirica, Fuentes, & Chagares, 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.