Articles Tagged with “Expert Testimony”

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It’s a relatively slow week in the federal circuits.

My favorite case of the last week is United States v. Torres Pimental. You’ve got to love a suppression motion being granted off of a government delay in presentment.

To the victories!

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In this edition, I think the most interesting case (of a number of interesting cases) is United States v. Garcia.

There, the government had an agent testify as an expert. The Fourth Circuit reversed, because the agent’s “expert testimony” exceeded the bounds of what counts as expert testimony.

The way agents get qualified as experts is, often, nuts. It’s good to see the Fourth Circuit rolling it back.

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Imagine the following facts – a man is accused of a crime. The government introduces testimony from a scientist about testing of an item recovered by the police.

The scientist isn’t the one who tested the evidence – he works in the same lab as the woman who did the tests. The scientist has read the lab reports from the woman who did the tests. He testifies that the item is what the government says it is. Moreover, because he knows how chain-of-custody is handled in his office, he testifies that the item that was tested is the same one that was taken off the person accused of a crime.

1314903_medical_doctor.jpgThe defendant never has a chance to cross-examine the person who actually tested the item – the results of the test come into evidence through the testimony of the person who just read the reports of the testing.

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Sometimes, a case comes along, and you wonder if the government is even trying to be fair.

Brad Santini drove from Mexico into California. He had 28 kilograms of marijuana hidden in his car. It was found. He was charged and went to trial.

At trial, Mr. Santini’s lawyers argued that he may have been tricked into driving the car across the border after someone else hid the marijuana in it without his knowledge.