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.).


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rule 706 Did Not Require Appointment of Expert for Indigent Malpractice Plaintiff, Says DC Circuit

A pro se litigant proceeding in forma pauperis in a malpractice action against multiple oral surgeons was not entitled to a court-appointed expert under Fed. R. Evid. 706, the D.C. Circuit has ruled. The plaintiff "acknowledged that he had been in contact with many experts who had been unable or unwilling to help." In addition, "appointed trial counsel consulted an expert who
found no likely fault with [the plaintiff's] first two surgeries," and "medical tests by the Bureau of Prisons showed no continuing TMJ problems." Absent stronger indicia that the claims were meritorious, the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to appoint an expert. See Gaviria v. Reynolds, No. 05-7010 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 9, 2007) (Ginsburg, Rogers, & Kavanaugh, JJ.).


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.