Topic: Firearms & Toolmarks
Resource: Cases
Record Upload Date: July 28, 2004
Case Name: United States v. Foster
Citation: 300 F. Supp. 2d 375 (D. Md. 2004)
Case Description:

Defendants involved in a federal death penalty case filed a motion in limine, based on the standards for reliability and relevancy explicated in Daubert, to exclude evidence of a ballistics expert on comparisons of spent bullet casings. The court denied the motion, finding that the standards applied, the peer review literature that has been published, the proficiency testing generally applied to firearms examiners, and the general acceptance of comparative microscopy for the purposes of firearms identification were sufficient to establish the reliability of the evidence proffered. Further, additional testimony was offered by firearms experts at other law enforcement agencies, including the methods used during testing, the procedure followed when performing experiments, and the training provided to the testers. The court found that the differences in standards employed by the experts was not sufficient to render the proffered testimony unreliable under Daubert. Finally, the court held that the inability of the examiner to recall every aspect of an examination is relevant for purposes of cross examination but is not sufficient to preclude the evidence under Daubert.