U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

National Center on Forensics

A Program of the National Institute of Justice

Post-PCAST Court Decisions Assessing the Admissibility of Forensic Science Evidence

This database gathers federal and state court decisions issued after the release of a 2016 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology titled Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods (the “PCAST Report”).

The PCAST Report, among other things, defined and established guidelines for what its authors termed “foundational validity” and applied those guidelines to certain forensic science disciplines: DNA, latent fingerprints, firearms/toolmarks, footwear, bitemarks, and hair microscopy. The authors opined that only the following forensic science disciplines met their standard for “foundational validity”: (1) DNA samples from one individual, (2) a mixture of DNA from no more than two individuals, and (3) latent fingerprints. The PCAST report judged the remaining forensic science disciplines to lack “foundational validity” and suggested that the U.S. Department of Justice not seek to introduce evidence requiring analysis by those disciplines’ practitioners.

The database seeks to compile decisions addressing the PCAST Report in a manner that is easy for courts, attorneys, forensic scientists, and others to review. It is both sortable by column and searchable. Columns are described below, and the terms used in each column are explained. The database includes cases that have been published in recognized court reporters, cases that have been published by Lexis Nexis, unpublished cases, and oral decisions. Copies of unpublished cases or transcripts of oral decisions can be requested by emailing [email protected].

Post-PCAST Court Decisions
Caption Federal or
State, Including Federal District or Circuit Posture Discipline Named Experts Decision Date Decision Effect Outcome Publication Status Description
State v. Denton, No. 04R-330, 2020 Ga. Super. LEXIS 13 (Super. Ct. Ga. Feb. 7, 2020) State GA  Appeal Bitemark Thomas David (D)
Cynthia Brzozowski (D)
Adam Freeman (D)
2020-02-07 Remand for new trial Def motion granted Lexis Three forensic dentists (including prosecution's former expert) testified that ABFO Guidelines changes in 2016 mean that bitemark evidence presented at trial would not be considered inculpatory.
State v. Fortin, 464 N.J. Super. 193 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2020) State NJ  Appeal Bitemark Adam Freeman (G)
Lowell Levine (G)
Norman Sperber (D)
Charles M. Bowers (D)
Geetha Natarajan (G)
Robert Hazelwood  (G)
2020-06-22 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis Court holds that criticism of bitemark evidence by PCAST Report and other sources is cumulative and notes "to date no court in the United States has excluded expert testimony on bitemark identification."
People v. Prante, No. 5-20-0074, 2021 IL App. LEXIS 178 (Ill. App. Ct. 2021) State IL  Post-conviction Bitemark Homer Campbell (G)
Lowell Levine (G)
Ronald Mullen (G)
Donald Ore (D)
Edward Pavlec (D)
 Norman Sperber (D)
Iain Pretty (D)
2021-04-12 Remand for admissibility hearing Petitioner permitted to file successive post-conviction motion Lexis Permitting successive post-conviction petition after finding cause ("examination as to the validity of bite mark evidence has occurred only in the past decade or so") and prejudice (circumstantial case). Court also concluded that "petitioner has not presented a colorable claim of actual innocence" and noted that Frye hearing would be required on remand to determine admissibility and scope of testimony re: apparent bitemarks.
People v. Thompson, No. 4346/15, 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5162 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Sept. 25, 2019) State NY  Pretrial DNA Bruce Budowle (D) 2019-09-25 Exclude Def motion granted Lexis Advisory opinion, given that defendants had pled guilty and OCME was no longer using DNA software at issue, finding that OCME's FST program was inadmissible under Frye; court acknowledges that NY trial and appellate courts do not agree with its analysis and is critical of some of those opinions. Court writes favorably of PCAST Report.
U.S. v. Garcia, No. 18 Cr. 1384, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150947 (D.N.M. Sept. 5, 2018) Federal  NM (DNM) Pretrial  DNA   2018-09-05 N/A (ordering defendant to produce DNA sample) Gov't motion granted Lexis Defendant sought to prevent taking of his DNA, arguing cognitive bias. Court rejected argument, which was based, in part, on PCAST Report.
U.S. v. Washington, No. 8:19CR299, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105447 (D. Neb. June 16, 2020) Federal NE (DNE) Pretrial DNA    2020-06-16 Admit Def motion denied Lexis STRmix case; defendant argued STRmix statistics are unreliable and that there were issues with chain of custody; court finds STRmix sufficiently reliable and any issues go to weight, not admissibility. Regarding defendant's reliance on PCAST Report to cast doubt on STRmix, court distinguishes the Report, noting that the percentage of the defendant's DNA in samples at issue "are well above the 20% threshold at which the PCAST Report raised concern."
State v. Baugh, No. 2017-CR-618, 2019 Ga. Super. LEXIS 418 (Ga. Super. Ct. Apr. 29, 2019) State GA  Pretrial DNA  Mark Perlin (G) 2019-04-29 Admit Def motion denied Lexis Court affirms admission of expert testimony regarding TrueAllele DNA analysis, applying Harper admissibility test (Georgia's standard; appears to be modified from Frye). Listing states that have admitted TrueAllele and cases deciding same.
U.S. v. Tucker, No. 18 Cr. 0119 (SJ), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3055 (EDNY Jan. 8, 2020) Federal NY (EDNY) Pretrial DNA
 & FTM
Matthew Parlo (G) 2020-01-08 Admit Def motion denied Lexis FRE 702 analysis; court permits firearms and toolmark examiner to testify that bullets came from three different guns, noting that those are class characteristics; STRmix DNA analysis for 2-person mix is reliable (cites other cases that came to same conclusion).
U.S. v. Oldman, No. 18CR-0020-SWS, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 232762 (D. Wyo. Dec. 31, 2018) Federal WY (DWY) Pretrial DNA Jerrilyn Conway (G)
Dan Krane (D)
2018-12-31 Admit Def motion denied Lexis Finding that results using STRmix DNA analysis are "based upon a tested and valid scientific methodology" that has been tested and peer reviewed so as to ensure its reliability. Decision extensively reviews scientific literature, including PCAST Report (court quotes Report, but does not rely on it). Testimony admitted without limitation.
U.S. v. Hendrix, No. CR19-0024JLR, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 331 (W.D. Wa. Jan. 2, 2020) Federal WA (WDWA) Pretrial Fingerprint Simon Cole (D)
Kristi Riccobuono (G)
2020-01-02 Exclude def expert Gov't motion granted Lexis Government's fingerprint witness permitted to testify in previous oral decision after Daubert hearing. This decision focuses on defendant's efforts to introduce testimony of defense expert about error rates and PCAST Report; government's motion to exclude granted because, among other things, defense expert's opinions are "not helpful to the jury and are overly reliant on hearsay." Court allows cross-examination of Government's expert regarding PCAST Report. 
U.S. v. Reyes-Ballista, No. 18-634-2, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218249 (D.P.R. Nov. 20, 2020) Federal PR (DPR) Pretrial Fingerprint Ruben Diaz
De Leon (D)
Patricia L.
Cornell (G)
Glenn M.
Langenburg (G)
FNU Pratt (G)
2020-11-20 Admit Def motion denied Lexis Defendant challenged validity and accuracy of ACE-V method of fingerprint examination based on PCAST and NAS Reports. Court denied motion to exclude after Daubert hearing. Court notes the "overwhelming caselaw standing for the proposition that fingerprint evidence is reliable enough for jury trials as a helpful form of identification testimony."
U.S. v. Fell, No. 5:01-CRcr-12-01, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198714 (D. Vt. Dec. 29, 2016) Federal VT (DVT) Pretrial Fingerprints   2016-12-29 Admit Def motion denied Lexis Short opinion denying defendant's motion, based on PCAST Report, for reconsideration of court's denial of motion to exclude fingerprint evidence. Court notes that "fingerprint identification remains sufficiently reliable to meet Daubert standards for admissibility. . . . [and] [t]he PCAST Report supports this view."
U.S. v. Bonds, No. 15 CR 573-2, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166975 (ND Ill. Oct. 10, 2017) Federal IL (NDIL) Pretrial  Fingerprints Kira Glass (G) 2017-10-10 Admit Def motion denied Lexis  Court denies defendant's request that Government comply with PCAST Report's advisory recommendations in determining whether latent fingerprint analysis had been reliably applied. Court notes that defendant's concerns about the Government expert's application of ACE-V method can be explored on cross-examination. Court precludes defendant from cross-examining on fingerprint misidentification in Mayfield case, citing U.S. v. Rivas, 832 F.3d 931 (7th Cir. 2016).
U.S. v. Kimble, No. CR418-026, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138988 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 16, 2018) Federal GA (SDGA) Pretrial  Fingerprints   2018-08-16 Admit Def motion denied Lexis Defendant's challenge to ACE-V methodology based on PCAST Report and NAS Report. As to PCAST addendum on ACE-V, Court notes that report found ACE-V to be both "scientifically valid" and reliable and criticizes selective quoting from PCAST Report. As to NAS, Court notes that any criticisms of ACE-V methodology goes to weight and not admissibility of testimony. 
U.S. v. Cantoni, No. 18-cr-562 (ENV), 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45116 (EDNY Mar. 19, 2019) Federal NY (EDNY) Pretrial  Fingerprints Simon Cole (D) 2019-03-19 Limit/Denied Def motions to preclude and for expert denied;  def motion to limit granted without gov't opp Lexis Defendant's challenge to ACE-V methodology based on PCAST Report denied, with court noting that PCAST Report concluded that ACE-V, though not infallible, is reliable. As to error rates in other studies, Court concludes that this goes to weight, not admissibility, of expert testimony, and can be adequately explored through cross-examination of government's expert. Proposed defense expert cannot testify about these studies as that would constitute inadmissible hearsay.
U.S. v. Pitts, No. 16-Cr 550 (DLI), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34552 (EDNY Mar. 2, 2018) Federal NY (EDNY) Pretrial Fingerprints Simon Cole (D) 2018-03-02 Exclude def expert Gov't motion granted Lexis Finding that proposed defense expert's testimony based on PCAST Report regarding fingerprint analysis would not be helpful to the trier of fact because (1) it would be offered only to rebut opinions that would not be elicited from the Government's expert; and (2) to the extent that proposed defense expert's opinions largely relied on reports authored by others, defendant could cross the Government's experts about those reports and proposed defense expert's testimony in this regard is therefore unnecessary. Opinion cites to other cases excluding specific proposed defense expert's testimony. Prior decision in same case, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30589, discusses at length weight versus admissibility of expert testimony regarding fingerprint analysis and denies motion to preclude handwriting expert, distinguishing handwriting expert testimony regarding forgeries from testimony comparing non-forged handwriting samples.
U.S. v. Lundi, No. 17 Cr. 388 (DLI), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114796 (EDNY July 10, 2018) Federal NY (EDNY) Pretrial  Fingerprints  Michael Skelly (G)
Edward Sanabria (G)
Art Connolly (G)
Simon Cole (D)
2018-07-10 Admit Def motion denied; def expert excluded Lexis Defendant challenged Government fingerprint expert based on PCAST Report. Court rejected challenge, noting that defendant could cross-examine based on the Report and that the Report's findings went to the weight and not admissibility of expert's testimony. Court also precluded testimony of defendant's expert.
Hughes v. State, No. 18A-CR-1007, 2019 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 581 (Ind. Ct. App. May 14, 2019) State  IN  Post-conviction Footwear   2019-05-14 Limit Affirmed admission of footwear testimony as that of "skilled" (not expert) witness Lexis Court draws and discusses distinction between "skilled" and "expert" footwear comparison witness and cautions trial court regarding jury instruction treating "skilled" witness as "expert" witness. Court holds that regardless of whether PCAST Report itself was admissible, cross-examination regarding the Report was permissible.
State v. Patel, No. No. LLTCR130143598S, 2016 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3440 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 28, 2016) State CT  Pretrial  Footwear   2016-12-28 Admit Def motion denied Lexis Summary of general acceptance of footwear comparison testimony. Court determines no need for a hearing. Discusses limitations of PCAST Report (*26) and jury's ability to use its "own powers of observation and physical comparison" when assessing comparison-based forensics evidence.
U.S. v. Tuzman, No. 15 Cr. 536 (PGG), 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208410 (SDNY Dec. 18, 2017) Federal NY (SDNY) Pretrial  Ink dating Albert H. Lyter III (D)
 Gerald M. LaPorte (G)
2017-12-18 Exclude def expert Government motion granted Lexis Gov't motion to exclude testimony of def witness granted. PCAST Report not mentioned, but addresses admissibility issues of ink dating testimony, FRCP 16 disclosures, reliability under FRE 702, FRE 403. Expert's failure to use "basic quality control protocols--including those required in the two papers he purportedly relies on--demonstrates that he lacks 'good grounds' for his conclusions."
Schmidt v. Int'l Playthings LLC, No. CIV 19-0933, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82129 (D.N.M. Apr. 29, 2021) Federal NM (DNM) Pretrial PCAST/
FRE 702
Dennis B. Brickman (P)
Joe Mohorovic (P)
2021-04-29 PCAST dicta Dicta about PCAST/FRE 702 Lexis Dicta in FNs about efforts to amend FRE 702 / PCAST.
White v. Town of Hurley, No. CIV 17-0983, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52487 (D.N.M. Mar. 28, 2019) Federal NM (DNM) Pretrial  PCAST/
FRE 702
Brian H. Kleiner (P) 2019-03-28 PCAST dicta Dicta about PCAST/FRE 702 Lexis Dicta in FNs about efforts to amend FRE 702 / PCAST.
U.S. v. Johnson, No. 16 Cr. 281 (PGG), 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39590 (SDNY Mar. 11, 2019) Federal NY (SDNY) Mid-trial FTM Jonathan Fox (G) 2019-03-11 Admit Def motion denied Lexis After Daubert hearing, court refuses to limit FTM expert's testimony where expert will not testify that FTM evidence he examined "matches to a particular firearm to the exclusion of all other firearms." Very thorough discussion of caselaw and 2008 & 2009 NRC Reports [2009 NAS] and PCAST Report as they pertain to FTM.
Ricks v. Pauch, No. 17-12784, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50109 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 23, 2020) Federal MI (EDMI) Pretrial FTM David Pauch (G)
Robert Wilson (G)
David Townsend (D)
Dean Milnar (C)
David Balash (G)
Jay Jarvis (D)
2020-03-23 Admit Def motion denied  Lexis Post-conviction reversal 1983 case; defendants (including city of Detroit) argued exculpatory firearms and toolmark evidence (class characteristics evidence) inadmissible; court denied motion to exclude evidence and testimony of several experts, discussing PCAST Report and other reports and extensively discussing federal cases, and noting that experts would not be opining that the bullets in evidence matched to any particular gun.
Merritt v. Arizona, No. C-17-04540-PHX-DGC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152011 (D. Az. Aug. 21, 2020) Federal (civil 1983 by defendant arrested by state) AZ (DAZ) Pretrial FTM Cade Shaw (D)
Christopher Kalkowski (D)
John Maciuilla (D)
Aaron Brudenell (D)
Lisa Peloza (D)
John Murdock (PL)
Greg Klees (PL)
Lucien Haag (PL)
Todd Weller (PL)
Joseph Grant (D)
John W. Davis (PL)
2020-08-21 Exclude  Def & pls' motions granted in part and denied in part Lexis Opinion-by-opinion analysis of whether experts can testify about various FTM conclusions; procedural posture is civil case brought alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution, etc. The court excluded proposed testimony by the plaintiff's expert, who would have opined that the plaintiff's weapon did not fire the bullets at issue in the case.
State v. Terrell, No. CR170179563, 2019 Conn. Super. LEXIS 827 (Conn. Super. Ct. March 21, 2019) State  CT  Pretrial  FTM Andrew Pike (G) 2019-03-21 Limit ("common origin," but not "practical impossibility" of another gun shot) Def motion denied Lexis FTM "common origins" testimony, i.e., that recovered casing was fired from the gun found near the defendant, is permitted after hearing, but expert is precluded from testifying that the "likelihood that a firearm other than [the recovered firearm] could have fired the [recovered shell casing] is so remote as to be considered a practical impossibility." Court's conclusion as to the former is based on the fact that the State presented expert testimony as to the validity of the "common origins" methodology and the defense failed to present its own witness. Court appears critical of "common origins" methodology. Discussion/analysis of NRC [2009 NAS] and PCAST Reports and caselaw.
U.S. v. White, No. 17 Cr. 611 (RWS), 2018 U.S. Dist. Lexis 163258 (SDNY Sept. 24, 2018) Federal NY (SDNY) Pretrial  FTM Jonathan Fox (G) 2018-09-24 Limit ("may not testify to any specific degree of certainty as to his conclusion that there is a ballistics match between the firearms seized . . . and those used in the various shooting incidents") Defendant motion to exclude denied;
motion to limit granted
Lexis Denied def request for a Daubert hearing regarding FTM expert testimony. Citing NRC Report [2009 NAS] (not PCAST Report) and holding that Government expert "may not testify to any specific degree of certainty as to his conclusion that there is a ballistics match between the firearms seized . . . and those used in the various shooting incidents. However, if pressed to define his degree of certainty during cross-examination, [the Government expert] may state his personal belief on that issue."
U.S. v. Tibbs, No. 2016-CF1-19431, 2019 D.C. Super. LEXIS 9 (D.C. Super. Ct. Sept. 5, 2019)  State  DC  Pretrial FTM Christopher Coleman (G)
Todd J. Weller (G)
Nicholas Petraco (G)
Bruce Budowle (G)
David Faigman (D)
Nicholas Scurich (D)
2019-09-05 Limit (cannot be excluded) Def motion granted in part and denied in part Lexis Limits firearm/toolmark expert to "testify[ing] that based on his examination, the recovered firearm cannot be excluded as the source of the cartridge casing found on the scene of the alleged shooting." Lengthy analysis of PCAST Report and caselaw.
U.S. v. Davis, No. 4:18-cr-00011, 2019 US Dist. LEXIS 155037 (W.D. Va. Sept. 11, 2019) Federal VA (WDV) Pretrial  FTM Wendy Gibson (G)
Courtney Etzelmiller (G)
Scott McVeigh (G)
2019-09-11 Limit (cannot say "match" or that cartridges were fired from same firearm) Def motion granted in part and denied in part Lexis After Daubert hearing, court permits FTM experts to testify as to similarities/consistencies in recovered cartridge casings, but due to the concerns expressed in court decisions and the PCAST/NRC [2009 NAS] Reports, precludes testimony that markings indicate a "match," or that cartridges were fired from the same firearm.
State v. Gibbs, No. 1819003017, 2019 Del. Super. LEXIS 639 (Del. Super. Ct. Dec. 9, 2019) State DE Pretrial FTM Robert Freese (G) 2019-12-09 Limit (may say "match," but not 100% certainty/ to the exclusion of all others) Def motion denied Lexis Without objection by the State, trial court limits testimony of FTM expert: "[t]he expert is precluded from testifying to being 100% certain as to his findings [and] if he testifies to a 'match,' the expert may not testify to conclusions that suggest there is a match to 'the exclusion of all other firearms in the world' or that it is a 'practical impossibility' that any other gun could have fired the recovered material. He may not testify within a reasonable degree of 'scientific' certainty and may not state his conclusions regarding a 'match' with any degree of certainty." 
Morones v. State, Nos. 09-16-00317; 00318; 00319; 00320, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 10964 (Tex. Ct. App. Nov. 22, 2017) State TX  Appeal FTM Dawn Laport (G) 2017-11-22 Error to admit, but harmless Conviction affirmed Lexis PCAST Report referred to in appellant's brief; court determines that any error in admitting FTM testimony was harmless in light of strong evidence of guilt.
State v. Hatfield, No. 77512-0-1, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 3027 (Wash. Ct. App. Dec. 2, 2019)  State WA Appeal FTM Dijana Coric (G) 2019-12-02 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis Frye hearing request denied by trial court, which concluded that PCAST Report did not raise enough of a dispute as to the general acceptance of FTM evidence to require a hearing; de novo review, no Frye hearing necessary (citing State v. DeJesus, 436 P.3d 834 (Wash. Ct. App. 2019)).
State v. Oliver, No. A-5140-16T1, 2020 N.J. Super. LEXIS Unpub. 339 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Feb. 18, 2020) (per curiam) State NJ Appeal FTM   2020-02-18 N/A (declined to review ballistics challenge not preserved below) Conviction affirmed Lexis Defendant did not object to testimony by firearms and toolmarks experts at trial; court did not review, but noted that it had "upheld the admissibility of tool mark analysis evidence in the context of markings on plastic garbage bags," and reaffirmed use of Frye.
Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 2019-CA-000187-MR, 2020 Ky. App. Unpub LEXIS 222 (Ky. Ct. App. Mar. 27, 2020)  State KY  Appeal FTM   2020-03-27 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis No Daubert hearing needed. "Our Supreme Court has accepted the reliability and validity of ballistic testing, such as that in Garrett and in this case, and the trial court here properly took judicial notice of its reliability and validity." See entry for Garrett v. Commonwealth, 534 S.W.3d 219 (Ky. 2017).
Williams v. Texas, No. AP-77053, 2017 Tex. Crim. App. Unpub. LEXIS 906 (Tex. Ct. Crim. App. Nov. 1, 2017) State TX  Appeal FTM James Jeffress (G) 2017-11-01 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis At pp. 49-53 of lengthy opinion, court rejects challenge to trial court's admission of expert FTM testimony, finding that the "theory of firearm and toolmark identification and the technique of microscopic firearm and toolmark comparison are accepted as valid by the relevant scientific community." Daubert hearing held by trial court. 
State v. Allen, No. 2017 KA 0306, 2017 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 325 (La. Ct. App. Nov. 1, 2017) State LA  Appeal FTM
Patrick Lane (G)
Amber Madere (G)
2017-11-01 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis Court finds no error in trial court allowing FTM testimony that projectile found at crime scene was fired from gun found at defendant's apartment and testimony from fingerprint expert concerning fingerprint match. Defendant argued that court should have granted pretrial motion for Daubert hearing in light of PCAST Report determining that methodology of firearms analysis is unreliable and that there is a high false-positive rate in fingerprint identifications. Court finds that "firmly established reliability of fingerprint evidence and firearms examinations," coupled with opportunity to cross-examine at trial, supported trial court's refusal to conduct a Daubert hearing and that there was no error in admitting both experts' testimony.
People v. Perez, No. B284669, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4165 (Cal. Ct. App. June 20, 2019)  State  CA Appeal FTM Phil Teramoto (G)
James Carroll (G)
John Nixon (D)
2019-06-20 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis Court rejects argument that trial court erred in failing to hold pre-trial hearing on reliability of "magazine lip mark comparison evidence," finding that such analysis is not quantitatively different from other reliable firearms toolmarks analysis. Court also rejects argument that trial court erred in prohibiting detailed examination of Government's experts based on content of PCAST and other reports. In any event, any error in both regards was "manifestly harmless," given overwhelming evidence that defendant was the shooter.
Spears v. Ryan, No. CV-01051, PHX-SMM, 2016 US Dist. LEXIS 157897 (D. Ariz. Nov. 16, 2016) Federal
AZ (DAZ)  (but state crim case) Post-conviction FTM Jon Kokanovich (G) 2016-11-15 N/A (challenge procedurally defaulted) Habeas petition denied Lexis Defendant cited findings of 2009 NAS Report criticizing toolmark analysis as "newly discovered evidence" justifying habeas review. Court rejected that argument, noting that such criticism preceded issuance of NAS Report. Analysis may parallel that addressing PCAST motions.
U.S. v. Chavez, No. 15-CR-00285-LHK-1, 2021 US Dist. LEXIS 237830 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 13, 2021)  Federal CA (NDCA) Pretrial FTM   2021-12-13 Admit with gov't's proposed limits Def motion denied Lexis Analyzing challenge to admissibility of firearms and toolmarks evidence under Daubert standard, court finds that evidence is admissible and notes that "there is no question on the record that even including the non-firearm experts from the NRC [2009 NAS] and PCAST reports, as well as defense experts, there is still an overwhelming acceptance in the United States and worldwide of firearms identification methodology."
Dantzler v. Rewerts, No. 20-1059, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 25939 (6th Cir. Aug. 25, 2021) Federal MI (6th Cir.) Post-conviction DNA Ann Chamberlain (D--did not testify)
Christopher Steary (G)
Rebecca Preston (G)
Nicole Kaye (G)
2021-08-25 N/A (assuming error, petitioner failed to show prejudice) Conviction affirmed Lexis Defendant challenged DNA evidence presented by three Government experts at trial that his DNA was on a hat found at the scene of a murder. Defendant relied on PCAST Report findings that interpretations of DNA profiles depends on the subjective choices made by analysts and that "[i]t is often impossible to tell with certainty which alleles are present in the mixture or how many separate individuals contributed to the mixture, let alone accurately to infer the DNA profile of each individual." Defendant argued that trial court should have permitted him to call an independent DNA analyst to rebut unspecified "subjective choices" of Government experts. Court rejected that argument, noting that defendant's characterizations of what an expert might have said were speculative and did not establish level of "prejudice" necessary to prevail on habeas review. Note: the Court does not analyze, challenge or accept substance of PCAST Report relied on by defendant or otherwise substantively discuss the content of the Report.
People v. Therman, No. C091147, 2021 Cal. App. Unpub LEXIS 6563 (Cal. App. 3d Oct. 19, 2021) State CA Appeal FTM Catherine Currier (G) 2021-10-19 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis Defendant appealed denial by trial court of his motion to exclude opinion of Government expert that firearm seized from him had fired a cartridge casing recovered at murder scene. Relying on PCAST Report, defendant argued that firearm comparison methods are "subjective" and criteria for making an identification is "circular." On appeal, Court found that the PCAST Report provided "compelling evidence that a credible body found cause for concern about firearm comparison testimony. . . [and] casts doubt on the reliability of firearms comparison techniques and undermines [the Government expert's] conclusion that the cartridge casing recovered from the scene was fired from the gun found on defendant." However, although noting that the PCAST Report is "undeniably credible and concerning," it falls short of establishing that a "clear majority" of the relevant scientific community no longer accepts firearm toolmark comparison as reliable. The Court also notes, in fn7, that the PCAST Report's concern over the absence of black-box studies has been alleviated by several such studies that have been completed since the Report's publication. Finally, the appellate court rejected the defendant's argument that the state Kelly standard should be replaced with the federal Daubert standard in determining the reliability of FTM analysis.
State v. Monell, No. A-4499, 2021 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2808 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Nov 15, 2021) (per curiam) State NJ  Appeal Fingerprints Eric Crain (G) 2021-11-15 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis On appeal of his murder conviction, defendant challenged trial court's decision not to hold a Frye hearing on (1) the admissibility of expert testimony that defendant's bloody palm print was on a knife found at the crime scene and; (2) his challenge to the methodology--ACE-V--employed by the expert. Defendant argued that ACE-V is scientifically invalid based on two studies cited in the PCAST Report regarding false positive rates for latent fingerprint matches. Appellate court found that pre-trial testimony by Government expert was sufficient to establish that ACE-V is generally accepted standard in the scientific community. As to the PCAST Report, because the defendant failed to introduce testimony by a witness who had knowledge of the content of the Report, or the studies referred to in the Report, the trial court had no basis to rule that ACE-V is unreliable. Moreover, as the defendant conceded, PCAST Report relates to "latent" fingerprint analysis, and not "patent" prints, such as the bloody palm print at issue in this case. The court declined to address the defendant's contention that the expert overstated the strength of his conclusion based on SWGFAST standards, noting that this issue had not been raised at trial and defendant could have, but did not, cross-examine the expert on this issue.
In re Arbzadegan, No. 03-20-00292-CR, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 9450 (Tex. Ct. App. 3d Dist. Nov. 23, 2021) State TX  Post-conviction DNA N/A 2021-11-23 PCAST dicta Affirmed trial court denial of post-conviction DNA testing; dicta about PCAST/FRE 702 Lexis Upholding trial court's denial of post-conviction DNA testing on ground that defendant failed to meet requirements of Texas post-trial DNA testing statute. In fn7, court makes passing reference to PCAST Report, and specifically notes that Report found CPI--Combined Probability of Inclusion--method for analyzing mixtures of DNA is foundationally invalid. However, court notes that CPI was not used for statistical analysis in this case and would therefore have no affect on outcome of the court's ruling.
State v. Watkins, No. M2020-0035-CCA-R3-CD, 2021 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 571 (Tenn. Cr. Crim. App. Dec. 16, 2021) State TN Appeal DNA Jennifer Hornyak (G)
Mark Perlin (G)
Nathaniel Adams (D)
2021-12-16 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Lexis In a case of first impression in Tennessee, probabilistic genotyping DNA analysis of a DNA mixture taken from the inside of the pants pocket of a murder victim was challenged by defendant. Defendant argued that probabilistic genotyping and its use of a likelihood ratio was not reliable in this case because of the number of multiple contributors. Defense expert, relying on the PCAST Report, testified that probabilistic genotyping is only reliable for analyzing mixtures of three or fewer DNA contributors and that further studies are necessary to establish propriety of using probabilistic genotyping systems on mixtures containing more than three contributors. Government expert testified that validation studies existed for mixtures containing up to seven contributors. Court rejected defendant's argument, finding that TrueAllele's established mathematical and statistical methodology had been established at extensive pretrial hearings. In addition, analyzing and applying Tenn. Code Section 24-7-118 (regarding admissibility of DNA evidence in general), court finds that probabilistic genotyping is encompassed within the language of the statute and that no threshold admissibility requirement applies to this type of DNA analysis.
U.S. v. Cloud, No. 1:19-cr-02032-SMJ-1; 1:19-cr-02032-SMJ-2, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 254392 (E.D. Wash. Dec. 17, 2021) Federal WA (EDWA) Pretrial FTM
Michael Van Arsdale (G, FTM)
Krystal N. Watts
(G, Fingerprints)
William A. Tobin
(D, FTM)
2021-12-17 Limit Defendant's motion granted in part and denied in part; G fingerprint expert precluded from testifying as not sufficiently qualified Lexis At pretrial hearing, Government FTM expert opined that recovered shell casings were fired from recovered firearm. In its ruling on defendant's motion to exclude FTM and fingerprint testimony, trial court quoted extensively and with apparent agreement, from PCAST Report and its criticisms of FTM analysis, in particular. It then applied a Daubert analysis, which criticized AFTE methodology and AFTE peer-review process and noted its conclusion that the AFTE methodology cannot be sufficiently and reliably replicated and is "highly subjective." Ultimately, in light of its concerns, court ruled that Government expert was only permitted to testify that recovered cartridges could not be excluded as having been fired by the recovered gun. The court ruled in addition that it would inform the jury that (1) only three studies that meet the minimum design standards have attempted to measure the accuracy of firearm/toolmark comparison; and (2) these three studies found false positive rates that could be as high as 1 in 46; 1 in 200; and 1 in 67. As to the Government's firearm expert, the court found, based on her poor performance in proficiency exams and errors in past fingerprint analyses that she performed, that she was not qualified to testify as an expert in fingerprint analysis. Court further found that ACE-V methodology of fingerprint analysis is reliable under Daubert standard.
Commonwealth v. Ross, 224 A.3d 789 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2019) State PA Appeal Bitemark   2017-03-08 Remand for admissibility hearing Conviction reversed Pub Finding that trial court should have conducted a Frye hearing on admissibility of bitemark evidence. Relying on and quoting from PCAST Report for conclusion that there is evidence indicating "a lack of consensus among forensic odontologists on whether bite mark identification analysis is reliable and valid." Further finding that trial court "should not have limited consideration of the general acceptance of the experts' methodology . . . to the field of forensic odontology" given the fact that bitemark analysis involves scientific disciplines beyond that of odontology.
Motorola, Inc. v. Murray, 147 A.3d 751 (D.C. Ct. App. 2016) State DC  Appeal Dicta re PCAST   2016-10-20 PCAST dicta DC state courts adopted FRE 702 Pub Non-forensic science case held that DC state courts would no longer use Frye standard. J. Easterly (author of case quoted in PCAST Report) wrote concurrence suggesting that all forensics testimony should be viewed through lens of PCAST Report.
State v. Simmer, 304 Neb. 369 (Neb. 2019) State  NE Appeal DNA Mark Perlin (G)
Melissa Helligso (G)
Nathanial Adams (D)
2019-11-01 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub TrueAllele DNA properly admitted at trial. Discussion of PCAST Report's conclusions regarding admissibility/reliability of TrueAllele in certain circumstances. Court notes that decision does not require admission of TrueAllele in all future cases.
Phillips v. State, 152 A.3d 712 (Md. Ct. App. 2017) State MD  Appeal  DNA Jessica Charak (G) 2017-01-20 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Somewhat Maryland-specific analysis of Maryland's DNA admissibility statute, concluding that DNA was properly admitted and that no hearing was required to so determine.
State v. Pickett, 466 N.J. Super. 270 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Feb. 3, 2021) State NJ  Appeal DNA  Mark Perlin (G)
Nathaniel Adams (D)
Mats Heimdahl (D)
Jeanna Matthews (D)
2021-02-03 N/A (ordering production of TrueAllele source code and other proprietary information) Def motion granted Pub Defendant's motion for source code and supporting software development and related documentation granted (with a protective order) to allow use in Frye hearing to determine admissibility of DNA expert's testimony; TrueAllele probabilistic genotyping software at issue; a number of amici filed briefs. Court cites PCAST Report's argument "that probabilistic genotyping programs should be independently evaluated to determine whether the methods are scientifically valid and, importantly, whether the software itself correctly implements the methods."
U.S. v. Lewis, 442 F.Supp.3d 1122 (D. Minn. 2020) Federal MN (DMN) Pretrial DNA  John Buckleton (G)
Anne Cieko
Nathaniel Adams (D)
Dan Krane (D)
Mats Heimdahl (D)
2020-03-03 Admit/Exclude Def motion granted in part and denied in part Pub STRmix DNA case; defendant argued STRmix statistics are unreliable; court finds STRmix sufficiently reliable as to evidence about inclusion of defendant as a contributor, but not as to exclusion of police officers and other witness as contributors. Adoption of lengthy Magistrate Judge's Report & Recommendation, which is at 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38705.
Anderson v. City of Chicago, 467 F.Supp.3d 598 (N.D. Ill. 2020) Federal IL (NDIL)  Pretrial DNA Dan Krane (D)
FNU Reich (Pl)
FNU Warren (D)
2020-06-16 Exclude def expert Pl's motion granted Pub Post-reversal-of-conviction and actual innocence 1983 case; plaintiff (former criminal defendant)'s motion to exclude City's DNA expert granted. SWGDAM also mentioned. Treats inclusions and exclusions differently.
People v. Williams, 35 N.Y.3d 24 (N.Y. 2020) State NY Appeal DNA   2020-03-31 Error to admit, but harmless Conviction affirmed Pub Trial court abused discretion as a matter of law in failing to hold Frye hearing on low copy number (LCN) DNA--specifically, OCME's forensic statistical tool (FST) software--but error was harmless. "Familiarity does not always breed accuracy, and our Frye jurisprudence accounts for the fact that evolving views and opinions in a scientific community may occasionally require the scrutiny of a Frye hearing with respect to a familiar technique. There is no absolute rule as to when a Frye hearing should or should not be granted, and courts should be guided by the current state of scientific knowledge and opinion in making such determinations."
U.S. v. Gissantaner, 990 F.3d 457 (6th Cir. 2021) (rev'g 417 F.Supp.3d 857 (W.D. Mich. 2019)) Federal MI (6th Cir.) Pretrial DNA Michael Cole (C)
Dan Krane (C)
John Buckleton (G)
Jeffrey Nye (G)
Amber Smith (G)
Stephen Lund (D)
Nathan Adams (D)
2021-03-05 Reverse exclusion Reversing exclusion of evidence by trial court  Pub STRmix; 6th Circuit reversed district court's exclusion of DNA evidence. District court had concluded that "because the sum of the parts simply does not add up to a reliable whole, the DNA analysis/likelihood ratio resulting from the use of the STRmix probabilistic genotyping software must be excluded." 6th Circuit disagreed, concluding that evidence should be admitted and noted, among other things, that one "independent" expert appointed by the court had been retained by the defendant on that same case.
U.S. v. Casanova, 886 F.3d 55 (1st Cir. 2018) Federal MA (1st Cir.) Appeal Fingerprints Ioan Truta (G) 2018-03-26 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed  Pub Court denies challenge to fingerprint examination on the basis of PCAST Report, finding that the Report, which post-dated the conviction, was not properly before the court and that the defendant had mischaracterized the content of the Report.
Walker v. Spina, 359 F.Supp.3d 1054 (D.N.M. 2019) Federal  NM (DNM) Pretrial  PCAST/
FRE 702
William Patterson (P) 2019-01-11 PCAST dicta Dicta about FRE 702/PCAST Pub Dicta in FNs about efforts to amend FRE 702 / PCAST.
U.S. v. Romero-Lobato, 379 F. Supp. 3d 1111 (D. Nev. 2019) Federal NV (DNV) Pretrial FTM Steven Johnson (G) 2019-05-13 Admit Def motion denied Pub After Daubert hearing, court denies defendant's motion, predicated almost entirely on NAS and PCAST Reports, to preclude expert testimony in firearm and toolmark identification based on AFTE methodology. Court conducted detailed analysis of five Daubert factors (finding only one factor favoring inadmissibility), incorporating and responding to criticism of the ATFE methodology in the NAS and PCAST reports. Court does not limit itself to black box studies.
U.S. v. Harris, 502 F.Supp.3d 28 (D.D.C. 2020) Federal DC (DDC) Pretrial FTM Chris Monturo (G)
Todd Weller (G)
Calissa Chapin (G)
2020-11-04 Admit with gov'ts proposed limits Def motion denied Pub Defendant's motion to exclude testimony of FTM expert denied; "advancements in the field in the four years since the PCAST Report address many of [the defendant's] concerns." Gov't agrees to follow ULTR--to not use the term "match" or "to the exclusion of all others," or reference any level of statistical certainty. Court also cites and discusses post-PCAST Report black box studies with low error rates.
U.S. v. Hunt, 464 F.Supp.3d 1252 (W.D. Okla. 2020) Federal OK (WDOK) Pretrial FTM Ronald Jones (G)
Howard Kong (G)
2020-06-01 Admit with gov'ts proposed limits Def motion denied Pub Court considered AFTE methodology as set forth in AFTE Journal in determining whether firearm/toolmark identification satisfied Daubert; court does not restrict itself to black-box studies in determining admissibility; good review of error rates & other federal decisions; expert will limit testimony to ULTR language. 
U.S. v. Ausby, 436 F.Supp.3d 134 (D.D.C. 2019) Federal DC (DDC) Pretrial FTM
Presence of Semen
Joseph Mullinax (G)
Alvin E. Hodge (G)
Courtland Cunningham (G)
2019-12-20 Exclude ("expert is unavailable and no evidentiary hearing may be held on the reliability of the specific methods he used because those methods are unknown and now unknowable") Def motion granted Pub On retrial of 47-year-old murder case (pre-Daubert and pre-FRE 702), court precludes admission of transcripts of now-deceased Government firearms, semen, and fingerprint experts, finding that Government cannot meet Daubert admissibility standards. Re firearms, held: "expert is unavailable and no evidentiary hearing may be held on the reliability of the specific methods he used because those methods are unknown and now unknowable." Mention of PCAST Report, but court does not rely on it.
U.S. v. Shipp, 422 F.Supp.3d 762 (EDNY 2019) Federal NY (EDNY) Pretrial FTM Sean Ring (G) 2019-11-26 Limit (cannot say "match" or that cartridges were fired from same firearm) Def motion denied/testimony limited Pub Court denies request for Daubert hearing on toolmark analysis; lengthy analysis of PCAST Report and caselaw concludes that testimony is admissible but limits it: expert may only testify that bullet fragment and shell casing are "consistent with" being fired from recovered firearm; that recovered firearm "cannot be excluded" as source of bullet and bullet fragment but cannot testify that bullet and fragment were definitively fired from recovered firearm.
U.S. v. Adams, 444 F.Supp.3d 1248 (D. Or. 2020) Federal OR (DOR) Pretrial FTM Travis T. Gover (G) 2020-03-16 Limit (cannot say "match" or that cartridges were fired from same firearm; only class characteristics) Def motion granted in part and denied in part Pub After initial comparisons of FTM through NIBIN yielded contradictory findings, evidence reexamined by an examiner with the Oregon Crime Lab, who determined that the casings were fired from the defendant's gun. Court then held Daubert hearing and permitted limited testimony: "[n]o evidence related to [the expert's] methodology or conclusions relating to whether the shell casings matched [the defendant's gun] will be admitted at trial." Court criticized AFTE methodology and testimony of expert witness.
U.S. v. Brown, 973 F.3d 667 (7th Cir. 2020) Federal IL (7th Cir.) Appeal FTM Marc Pomerance (G)
Kurt Murray (G)
Aimee Steven (G)
Rodney Jiggets (G)
2020-08-28 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Seventh Circuit affirms conviction predicated on FTM testimony, noting that "[t]he defendants brought the PCAST Report to the district court's attention, but the district court chose not to give it dispositive effect, and that choice was within its set of options."
U.S. v. Johnson, 875 F.3d 1265 (9th Cir. 2017) Federal CA (9th Cir.) Appeal FTM Mark Proia (G) 2017-11-17 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Ninth Circuit holds trial court properly admitted testimony of Government FTM expert that test-fired bullet matched bullet recovered from crime scene "to a reasonable degree of ballistics certainty" and did not abuse its discretion in denying motion to exclude expert's testimony, which was based on AFTE methodology.
Garrett v. Commonwealth, 534 S.W.3d 217 (Ky. 2017) State KY Appeal FTM Leah Collier (G)
William Tobin (D)
2017-12-14 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Does not refer to PCAST Report, but Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 2019-CA-000187-MR, 2020 Ky. App. LEXIS Unpub 222 (Ky. Ct. App. Mar. 27, 2020) notes that Garrett was decided after PCAST and held that Daubert hearings generally are not required for FTM because court can take judicial notice of the science of FTM evidence due to longstanding precedent.
State v. Boss, 577 S.W.3d 509 (Mo. Ct. App. 2019) State MO Appeal FTM Jason Crafton (G) 2019-06-25 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Finding that trial court did not err in admitting expert FTM testimony that shell casings recovered from robbery locations were from gun found in defendant's backpack. Court further finds that expert could be cross-examined regarding conclusions in NAS Report that tended to call that conclusion into question.
State v. Griffin, 268 N.C. App. 96 (N.C. Ct. App. Oct. 15, 2019) State NC Appeal FTM Elizabeth Fields (G) 2019-10-15 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Trial court did not err in allowing FTM expert to testify that cartridge casings found at the crime scene came from firearm found in field adjacent to the defendant's property. Court finds that the defendant "severely misrepresents [the expert's] opinion testimony by briefly summarizing a few lines of testimony while omitting the bulk of the testimony [and that] [o]ur review of the transcript reveals that [the expert's] opinion testimony was sufficient to demonstrate the reliability of the principles and methodology she used." 
People v. Azcona, 58 Cal.App.5th 504 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) State CA Appeal FTM   2020-12-10 Reverse conviction Conviction reversed Pub Conviction reversed because trial court "committed multiple errors related to firearms expert testimony" including permitting testimony about (1) conclusions not supported by evidence, including that there was a conclusive match, and (2) hearsay statements of other examiners who reviewed and approved his conclusions; firearms evidence is not per se inadmissible under Frye/Kelly.
People v. Rodriguez, 106 N.E.3d 436 (Ill. App. Ct. 2018) State IL Appeal FTM  Brian Mayland (G, FTM)
Mary Wong (G, GSR)
2017-05-08 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub No Frye hearing required prior to admitting testimony from firearms expert that crime scene bullet was fired from gun recovered from defendant's house. Conclusions of NRC [2009 NAS] report as to firearms analysis goes to weight, not admissibility, of expert testimony and NRC Report has not undermined the reliability of FTM evidence to the degree that it has ceased to be accepted in the scientific community. Testimony of Government witness regarding gunshot residue was not challenged on appeal. 
State v. Raynor, 254 A.3d 874 (Conn. May 8, 2018) State CT Appeal FTM James Stephenson (G) 2020-12-04 Remand for admissibility hearing Conviction reversed Pub Finding that trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of the admissibility of firearms and toolmark testimony and finding that such error was not harmless. Court notes that reliability of such testimony has been called into question by NAS and PCAST Reports and that trial court should have considered such evidence in performing its gatekeeping function on the admissibility of firearms and toolmark evidence and its decision to permit a pretrial evidentiary hearing on such matters. Court affirms trial court's denial of defense motion to limit scope of expert's testimony to "more likely than not" standard.
State v. Castro DeJesus, 436 P.3d 834 (Wash. Ct. App. 2019) State WA Appeal FTM    2019-03-11 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Employing Frye analysis, admission of FTM expert testimony after midtrial hearing affirmed on appeal. Court notes that the "PCAST report acknowledged its own dubious value to courts" and that the Report "does not indicate that . . . toolmark testing is without merit" and holding that questions raised about the methodologies employed by FTM experts in the report "bear on the question of reliability" and go to the weight of the testimony, not its admissibility.
State v. Mills, 623 S.W.3d 717 (Mo. Ct. App. 2021) State MO Appeal FTM David Menendez (G)
Michael Wunderlich (G)
2021-03-30 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Finding no Daubert hearing required to assess experts testimony that recovered gun "matched" shell casing located at murder scene where expert's had 20 years of experience with FTM examination. State also moved to preclude defense from cross-examining regarding reliability and credibility of toolmark identification procedures based on PCAST and NAS Reports. Appellate court does not squarely address this issue, but notes that defendant "had not endorsed any expert witness to lay a foundation establishing that the reports were authoritative, and the court had not taken judicial notice of the reports."
State v. Wheeler, 308 Neb. 708 (Neb. 2021) State NE Appeal FTM Angela Harder (G) 2021-03-26 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Relying largely on PCAST Report, defendant argued at a pretrial hearing that the Government's expert was not qualified to render an opinion that all seven shell casings found at the crime scene were fired from the same gun. Rejecting that argument, trial court allowed extensive cross examination at the hearing based on findings in the PCAST Report, but concluded that witness was qualified to testify as an expert and to render opinion as to shell casings. Appellate court affirmed finding (1) that expert's testimony was not prejudicial and supported the state's theory that one gun fired all of the shell casings, and (2) that defendant had been given ample opportunity to cross expert and present his own theory to the contrary.
Williams v. U.S., 210 A.3d 734 (D.C. Ct. App. 2019) State  DC Appeal FTM Luciano Morales (G) 2019-06-27 Error to admit, but harmless Conviction affirmed (harmless error) Pub Easterly, J., granted defendant's petition for rehearing after decision in Williams v. U.S., 130 A.3d 343 (D.C. Ct. App. Jan. 21, 2016), finding that admission of expert's testimony was plain error because of change from Frye to Daubert standard as articulated in the decisions in Motorola, Inc. v. Murray, 147 A.3d 752 (D.C. Ct. App. 2014) (en banc) and Gardner v. United States, 140 A.3d 1172 (D.C. Ct. App. 2016), but error was harmless. Makes clear that firearms/toolmark evidence is admissible, but it is error to allow an examiner to say bullet came from specific gun; notes data may exist in future to allow for such testimony. Defendant's conviction is affirmed because, in light of the strength of the other evidence, he could not show that his substantial rights were affected by the error.
Gardner v. U.S., 140 A.3d 1172 (D.C. Ct. App. 2016) State  DC  Appeal FTM Lyndon Watkins (G) 2016-06-23 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed (harmless error) Pub Pre-PCAST Report, but cited in 2019 Williams case (see above); plain error to allow expert to testify that particular gun shot recovered bullet: "in this jurisdiction a firearms and toolmark expert may not give an unqualified opinion, or testify with absolute or 100% certainty, that based on ballistics pattern comparison matching a fatal shot was fired from one firearm, to the exclusion of all other firearms.” Error, however, was harmless due to strength of other evidence of guilt.
State v. Eaglin, 239 So.3d 1001 (La. Ct. App. 2018) State  LA  Appeal   FTM  Michelle Cazes (G) 2018-03-28 N/A (no error in denying defense motion for FTM expert) Conviction affirmed Pub Court declines invitation to find that PCAST Report invalidated methodology employed by expert in examining FTM. Daubert hearing below. Conviction later reversed, 265 So.3d 761 (La. 2019) (per curium), but on different grounds.
State v. Ghigliotty, 463 N.J. Super. 355 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2020) State NJ Appeal FTM Michael Sandford (G)
Gary Mayer (G)
2020-04-20 Remand for admissibility hearing Affirmed in part, vacated in part, remanded Pub Affirming trial court's determination that a Frye hearing is necessary to determine reliability of BULLETTRAX and Matchpoint technology, reversing trial court's decision ordering discovery of algorithms and limitations on scope of expert's testimony (both as premature). Note: one Government expert did the initial examination and found no FTM match. Ten years later case was reopened, and a second Government expert reexamined the FTM evidence using new technologies. The second Government expert was found to be not credible by the lower court, a finding affirmed by the appellate court. 
People v. Davis, 75 Cal. App. 5th 694 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 2022) State CA  Appeal DNA Pin Kyo (G)
Eric Halsing (G)
John Buckleton (G)
2022-02-28 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Finding that STRmix, which "has been used for DNA analysis since 2012 and is widely used by forensic laboratories across the world" is generally accepted as reliable by the relevant scientific community. Brief reference to article responding to PCAST Report.
People v. Ross, 68 Misc. 3d 899 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 30, 2020) & People v. A.M., 2020 NYLJ LEXIS 1401 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 30, 2020) State NY  Pretrial FTM Jennifer Lady (G)
Jonathan Fox (G)
Todd Weller (G)
David Faigman (D)
 Nicholas Scurich (D)
2020-06-30 Limit (class characteristics only) Def motion granted in part and denied in part Pub & Lexis Limiting testimony to class characteristics present that would include/exclude firearm at issue (this testimony found to meet Frye standard), but precluding testimony about the significance of marks other than class characteristics because "the reliability of that practice in the relevant scientific community as a whole has not been established." Defense experts in scientific research methodology and study design criticized studies of toolmark analysis as a science. (Same analysis and decision in two cases.)
U.S. v. Gil, 680 F. App'x 11 (2d Cir. 2017) (summary order) Federal NY (2d Cir.)  Appeal FTM    2017-02-21  Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub (summ order) Affirming conviction and summarizing what FTM expert language is permissible in Second Circuit. NAS Reports mentioned, but not PCAST Report (although defendant's brief relied upon PCAST).
Abruquah v. State, 471 Md. 249 (Md. 2020) (per curiam) (see lower court cites in description) State MD Appeal, also trial FTM David L. Faigman (D)
James Hamby (G)
Scott McVeigh (G)
William Tobin (D)
Torin Suber (G)
2018-2021 (multiple decisions) Limit (AFTE range of conclusions) Def motion denied Some pub, some lexis, some unpub The prosecution of Abruquah resulted in decisions regarding FTM admissibility at multiple levels of Maryland’s courts. Some of the lower courts discussed the PCAST Report. Experts listed were mentioned in one or more decisions.
- State v. Abruquah, No. CT12-1375X (Md. Cir. Ct. Mar. 18, 2018) (unreported decision): Trial court discussed PCAST and NAS Reports, admitting FTM testimony but limiting expert to “AFTE Range of Conclusions."
- Abruquah v. State, No. 2176, 2020 Md. App. LEXIS 53 (Md. Ct. Special App. Jan. 17, 2020): Affirming trial court, noting that PCAST Report expressly stated that the admissibility of firearms analysis "is a decision that belongs to the courts.”
- Abruquah v. State, 471 Md. 249 (Md. 2020) (per curium): Conviction reversed and remanded to lower court to consider whether it should reconsider its decision to admit toolmark evidence/testimony in light of Rochkind v. Stevenson, 471 Md. 1, 236 A.3d 630 (Md. 2019), which adopted Daubert standard. PCAST Report is not mentioned.
- State v. Abruquah, No. CT12-1375X (Md. Cir. Ct. Undated) (unreported decision): Upon remand to consider challenge to firearms evidence under Daubert, trial court finds that toolmark and firearm evidence is admissible; denies motion for reconsideration and affirms conviction. (Decision is undated, but was issued in late 2021.) 
State v. Robinson, No. 62-CR-15-935/ State v. Blackstone, No. 62-CR-16-45 (Minn. D.Ct. May 4, 2018) (unpublished) State  MN Pretrial  DNA  Marlijn Hoogendoorn (G)
Norah Rudin (D)
2018-05-04 Admit/Limit Def motion denied   Unpub Court determines that DNA interpretation is foundationally based in science and is relevant to the firearms charge. Lengthy discussion of PCAST Report.
State v. Alford, No. 15-696-FC (Mich. Cir. Ct. Nov. 28, 2016) (unpublished) State MI  Pretrial DNA  John Buckleton (G)
Jeffrey Nye (G)
2016-11-28 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Lengthy opinion that cites to other Michigan cases admitting STRmix--discussion of weight versus admissibility. No mention of PCAST Report, but is a post-PCAST Report case.
U.S. v. Byrd, No. 2016 CF3 008456 (Super. Ct. DC Nov. 6, 2017) (unpublished) Federal DC  Pretrial  Fingerprints Tim Kesterton (G)
Simon Cole (D)
2017-11-06 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Court declines to hold a hearing on the reliability or validity of fingerprint evidence and will not categorically exclude such evidence but will make a "threshold determination" about whether the Government's expert is qualified to express an opinion about the fingerprint comparisons.
U.S. v. Casaus, No. 14-cr-00136-CMA-09 (D. Colo. Dec. 29, 2017) (unpublished) Federal  CO (DCO)  Pretrial  Fingerprints   2017-12-29 Admit Def motion denied  Unpub Court denies Daubert challenge to fingerprint comparisons, noting that 10th Circuit precedent that "fingerprint comparison is a reliable method to identify persons" undercuts PCAST Report's criticism of latent fingerprint analysis. 
U.S. v. Chester, No. 13 Cr. 774 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 7, 2016) (unpublished) Federal IL (NDIL) Pretrial FTM   2016-10-07 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Defendant moved to preclude FTM evidence; Court denied but suggested defendant could cross on contents of PCAST Report. Court notes that PCAST Report is clear that '"[j]udges' decisions about the admissibility of scientific evidence rest solely on legal standards; they are exclusively the province of the courts and PCAST does not opine on them."
State v. Acoff, No. 16-F-43 (W. Va. Cir. Ct. Sept. 23, 2016) (unpublished) State WV Pretrial FTM   9/23/2016 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Brief order denying defendant's motion in limine to exclude all evidence or opinions regarding tool mark identification, noting that the "State's expert employed a methodology that is recognized in the scientific community" and "correctly applied the methodology to render his opinion."
Commonwealth v. Brock,  No. 18-CR-00069 (Ky Cir. Ct. Jul. 30, 2021) (unpublished) State KY Pretrial FTM Jennifer Owens (G)
Greg Klees (G)
Michael J. Salyards (D)
2021-06-30 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Defendant's expert cited PCAST and NAS Reports in criticizing the foundational validity of firemarks and toolmarks examination. In denying motion to exclude FTM testimony, court finds "compelling . . . the lack of adoption of the principles advanced in the PCAST Report and the remaining adherence to existing principles and standards concerning firearms exams."
State v. Kennedy, No. 1516-CR00258-01 (Mo. Cir. Ct. Mar. 31, 2017) (unpublished) State MO  Pretrial FTM   2017-03-31 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Finding that Frye standard still applies in Missouri and that expert testimony regarding match between gun possessed by defendant and gun shell casings found at crime scene was admissible; also noting the long history of admitting such testimony in Missouri. No mention of PCAST Report, but post-PCAST case.
Commonwealth v. Legore, No. SUCR 2015-10363 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 17, 2016) (unpublished) State MA Pretrial  FTM    2016-11-17 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Court discusses NAS Report, and notes that PCAST Report is similar and that firearms toolmark analysis has even more scientific support now than in 2009. Court declines to conduct Daubert hearing based on PCAST Report.
People v. Purpera, No. 2016 Cr. 7798 (Colo. Dist. Ct. Aug. 12, 2018) (unpublished) State  CO Pretrial  FTM  Charles Reno (G) 2018-08-12 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Denying defense motion to preclude FTM expert testimony after hearing. Lengthy discussion of Colorado standard for admitting scientific evidence and noting that error rates discussed in PCAST Report that were relied on by the defense did not render expert opinion unreliable. Discussion of contents of PCAST Report as hearsay and noting that the Report is the result of a "[g]oal driven effort[] to find things to criticize [which] tend to present an unbalanced picture and tend to disregard, sometimes inadvertently, contrary evidence."
U.S. v. Valdez, No. 2016 CF1 002267 (D.C. Super. Ct. Jan. 30, 2018) (unpublished) State  DC Pretrial  FTM  Todd J. Weller (G) 2018-01-30 Limit (bullets/ casings fired from same firearm, but not 100% to the exclusion of all others) Def motion denied Unpub Court denies motion to exclude expert testimony on firearms and toolmarks, but limits testimony: "[t]he expert may state an opinion that bullets and/or casings were fired from the same firearm and may explain the bases for that opinion, but he may not give an unqualified opinion or testify with absolute or 100 percent certainty that the bullet or casing is identified to one firearm, to the exclusion of all other firearms. He also may not state an opinion in terms of 'scientific certainty.'" As to the PCAST Report, the court does not find its criticism of the use of toolmarks in identifying firearms persuasive in light of the substantial number of peer reviewed studies that confirm the basic validity and reliability of firearms identification by analysis and matching of toolmarks.
State v. Goodwin-Bey, No. 1531-CR555-01 (Cir. Ct. Mo. Dec. 16, 2016) (unpublished) State MO Pretrial  FTM    2016-12-16 Limit (gun "could not be eliminated" as source) Def motion denied Unpub Court "very reluctantly" allows "the State's lab person to testify, but only to the point this gun could not be eliminated as the source of the bullet." Lengthy discussion of conclusions of NAS and PCAST Reports. But see State v. Mills, 623 SW3d 717 (Mo. Ct. App. 2021) and State v. Boss, 577 SW3d 509 (Mo. Ct. App. 2021), both of which decline to limit expert's testimony in the manner suggested by Goodwin-Bey
Commonwealth v. Hernandez, No. SUCR 2014-10417, 2015-10384 (Mass. Super. Ct. Dec. 21, 2016) (unpublished) State MA Pretrial FTM    2016-12-21 Admit Def motion denied Unpub Defendant's motion to preclude FTM evidence denied. In discussing PCAST Report, court notes that Report concedes that "[w]hether firearms analysis should be deemed admissible based on current evidence is a decision that belongs to the courts" and that the "conclusions of the PCAST Report are apparently subject to reconsideration."
U.S. v. Taylor, No. 15-20152 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 24, 2016) (transcript of oral ruling) Federal MI (EDMI)  Pretrial FTM FNU Critchon (G) 2016-03-24 Admit Def motion denied Unpub (oral) Government expert may testify as to his opinion that it was "very unlikely or extremely unlikely that the casing did not come from the questioned firearm" because that standard is "not so high that it's to the exclusion of every other firearm in the world." Motion to preclude or limit testimony denied.
U.S. v. Medley, No. 17 Cr. 242 (S.D. Md. Apr. 24, 2018) (transcript of oral ruling) Federal MD (SDMD)  Pretrial  FTM  Scott McVeigh (G) 2018-04-24 Limit (expert cannot testify that defendant's gun fired bullet to the exclusion of all others) Def motion denied Unpub (oral) Lengthy discussion of PCAST Report. Limiting expert testimony: court will not allow expert to express opinion that cartridges found at crime scene were fired from the same gun as that associated with the defendant or to express confidence level as to his opinion.
State v. Burton, No. CR23-150831 (Super. Ct. Conn. Feb. 1, 2017) (transcript of oral ruling) State CT Pretrial FTM Jill Therriault (G) 2017-02-01 Limit ("consistent" that shell came from gun) Def motion denied Unpub (oral) Denying defense motion to exclude expert FTM testimony, but limiting testimony, noting that "[the expert is] overselling the result based on methodology [that] does not support a conclusion that this shell casing came from this gun." Expert is limited to testifying that it is "consistent" that shell casing came from the gun at issue.
Commonwealth v. Mulazim, No. 15 Cr 0592 (Ky. Cir. Ct. May ___, 2018)
(unpublished; unsigned order)
State  KY Pretrial  FTM  William Tobin (D) 2018-05-01 Exclude def expert Def expert excluded Unpub (and unsigned) Defense FTM expert excluded; testimony would be more confusing and misleading than probative.
State v. Johnson, 2022-Ohio-1739 (Ohio Ct. App. 2022) State OH Appeal Fingerprints Kimberly Horning (G)
Michele Triplett (D)
2022-05-25 Remand for hearing Remanded Pub Fingerprint evidence introduced, after Daubert hearing, through witness who used ACE-V method, uploaded prints to AFIS, and then compared prints returned by AFIS manually. Work was verified by second examiner. Expert testified she was "100 percent sure" that a print belonged to the defendant. Court of appeals had affirmed conviction on direct appeal. In this decision, which addressed his request for post-conviction relief, same court cited NAS and PCAST Reports, including PCAST's suggested jury instruction in latent print cases. Court remanded for a hearing, suggesting that expert likely erred by testifying that latent fingerprint identification was not subjective and by testifying to 100 percent certainty, and holding that the trial court erred by not holding a hearing to address the merits of the petition. 
People & C. v. Wakefield, 2022 N.Y. LEXIS 819 (NY Apr. 26, 2022) State NY Appeal DNA Ranajit Chakraborty (D)
Gary Skuse (D)
Mark Perlin (G)
Barry Duceman (G)
Jay Caponera (G)
2022-04-26 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub Conviction that included testimony re: TrueAllele, following a Frye hearing, affirmed. New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in the state) held (1) trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that "TrueAllele's use of the continuous probabilistic genotyping approach to generate a statistical likelihood ratio—including the use of peak data below the stochastic threshold—of a DNA genotype is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community" and (2) "there was no error in the court's denial of defendant's request for discovery of the TrueAllele software source code in connection with the Frye hearing or for the purpose of his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witness against him at trial."
Brown v. State, 2022 Nev. LEXIS 42 (Nev. June 23, 2022) State NV Appeal Footwear   2022-06-23 Affirm admission Conviction affirmed Pub State Supreme Court affirmed admission of footwear impression evidence without the testimony of an expert. During closing, prosecutor suggested that jury could compare defendant's footwear with the impression itself. Citing (in FN 7) USDOJ's 2021 Statement on the PCAST Report, appellate court noted that USDOJ "has since rejected key components of that report" and declined to consider the report because "this issue may be resolved through existing caselaw." Court surveys caselaw in other states, noting that courts have "come to differing conclusions" regarding whether expert testimony is necessary in footwear impression cases. Court then concludes that jurors may make personal observations and draw general inferences about similarities between footwear and footwear impressions, generally without expert testimony, but notes (in FN 9) that expert testimony might be necessary in some footwear cases.
Date Created: June 22, 2022