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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Qualifying the DNA Analyst

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Rule 702. Testimony by Experts
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Federal Rule of Evidence Rule 702 requires the state to show that the proffered testimony will assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence of the case or determining a fact in issue.

In some jurisdictions, the qualifying or voir dire portion of the DNA analyst's testimony is conducted outside the jury's presence, while in others it may be conducted with the jury present. If the DNA analyst is qualified outside the jury's presence, the prosecutor should not agree to stipulate as to the analyst's qualifications, but rather repeat these for the jury so they may fully hear the extensive background, training, and experience of the analyst for themselves. The prosecutor can use the same voir dire questions in front of the jury used earlier to qualify the analyst as an expert to the court.

Federal Rule of Evidence Rule 702

“If the 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 the
1. Testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data,
2. Testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and
3. Witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

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