US v. Hilerdieu Alteme, Case No. 99-8131, US District Court, Southern District of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale Division

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
April 3-6, 2000; Ft. Lauderdale, FL

JUDGE:
Hon. Lurana S. Snow, US Magistrate Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSA Karen Atkinson (561.820.8711)
Defense: Timothy Day

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
William Babler, Marquette University
Stephen Meagher, FBI
Bruce Budowle, FBI

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
David Stoney, McCrone Institute

DECISION:
Written decision issued on 4/7/00.  Defense motion to exclude fingerprint evidence and testimony denied.  ( Note: The defense questioned both Budowle and Meagher regarding the NIJ solicitation.)

Report and Recommendations adopted by District Court Judge.

      See the US v. Havvard Court of Appeals Ruling

US v. Wade Havvard, Case No. IP 00-43-CR-01, US District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
September 11, 2000; Indianapolis, IN

JUDGE:
Hon. David F. Hamilton, U. S. District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSA Susan Dowd (317.226.6333)
Defense: William Marsh

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Stephen Meagher, FBI

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
 None

DECISION:
Written decision filed 10/5/00.  Defense motion to exclude fingerprint evidence and testimony denied.  Opinion published at 117 F.Supp.2d 848 (S.D. Ind.2000).

State of Georgia vs. Jeffrey Vincent McGee; Indictment No. 99-CR-277; Superior Court of Carroll County

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
October 27, 2000; Carrollton, GA

JUDGE:
Hon. Aubrey Duffey

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: Anne Allen
Defense: Michael Mears

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Stephen Meagher, FBI

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
Lanny Cox; Lou Cuente; Jeffrey Kovac; David Stoney
Lanny Cox was crime scene investigator for GBI and Lou Cuente was GBI latent print expert.  Defense called them to testify to their procedures, standards and verifiability of their standards.  This is in line with Harper decision in Georgia as opposed to Daubert decision in Federal court.  Dr. Kovac, Ph.D., Prof. of Chemistry, Univ. of Tenn., testified to what constitutes science and ethics in science.  Stoney testified as to his perception of latent print examinations and that it is not science because statistical probabilities are not used to establish a minimum number of points needed to individualize.

DECISION:
The motion to exclude the fingerprint evidence and testimony is denied.  The written decision included the following: "This court will take judicial notice of the fact that the fingerprints of each human being are different from those of any other human being and that said individual fingerprints are permanent and that they are not altered by the passing of time or by degenerative physical disorder or traumatic event; That the fingerprint identification of individuals has been accepted as accurate by all state and Federal courts of the United States as well as by the courts throughout the entire world for at least the past 80 years, ..."  "This court therefore concludes that despite numerous legal challenges in state and federal courts, the courts have held that fingerprint identification has reached a scientific stage of verifiable certainty and; This court finds that fingerprint identification is reliable evidence ..." 

US v. Stanley Leon Obanion, Jr. and Joseph Brooks Robinson, Criminal No. DKC-98-0442, US District Court for the District of Maryland

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
June, 2000; Beltsville, MD

JUDGE:
Hon. Deborah Chasanow, U. S. District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecutor: AUSA Jan Paul Miller (301.344.4124)
Defense: John Chamble and Fred Warren Bennett

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
None

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
The Judge heard arguments but no witnesses testified.  The Judge ruled from the bench (no written decision) that the defense motion to exclude fingerprint evidence and testimony be denied.

(Of interest, the defense used the NIJ solicitation as part of its argument, the Judge took it into consideration and ruled to deny the request.)

People v. Torres, Court No. BA145133, Department 101, Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
 

JUDGE:
Hon. William Pounders

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution:  Stephen Frankland, Deputy District Attorney
 (213.974.3731)

Defense:

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
None

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
Defendant filed a Motion In Limine to Suppress Fingerprint Evidence and Testimony.  Court denied motion without a Daubert hearing and defendant pled guilty on 5/15/00.

US v. Williams, Criminal No. 00-5263T in the Western District of Washington,
Tacoma Division 

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING

JUDGE

ATTORNEYS
Prosecution: AUSA Robb London (206.553.2074) 
Defense: 

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES
None 

DEFENSE WITNESSES
None 

DECISION
Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress Expert Opinion on Identification. On 7/7/00 the motion was denied without a hearing. The evidence was admitted at trial. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit, while recognizing that the court was not required to hold a Daubert hearing, found harmless error when the court did not put on the record its finding of reliability of fingerprint evidence. No. 01-30046 (9th Cir., Jan. 28, 2002) - Not for Publication Memorandum Opinion) 

State of California v. Robert Nawi; 176527; Superior Court of the State of California
(Modified Frye Hearing - 402 hearing)

DATE and LOCATION OF HEARING:
October 10, 2000; San Francisco, CA

JUDGE:
Hon. Leonard Louie

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: John Farrell (415.553.1188)
Defense: Michael Burt

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Kenneth Moses (retired San Francisco PD)

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None; Defense requested court to subpoena and pay expert witness fees for David Stoney and Simon Cole.  Judge denied.

DECISION:
Modified Frye hearing (402 hearing) challenging fingerprint expert procedures, standards and verifiability of the standards. Defense presented same arguments as US v Mitchell filings. Defense motion to exclude fingerprint evidence and testimony denied. 

US v Graham Rogers, Criminal No. CR-90-1BR, in Eastern District of North Carolina

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
December 6-7, 2000; Richmond, North Carolina

JUDGE:
Hon. W. Earl Britt, US District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSA Dennis Duffy (919.856.4847)
Defense:

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Robert Schumann, US Secret Service
Vici Inlow,  US Secret Service

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
Trial had begun and several witnesses had testified. Prior to fingerprint evidence being given the defense offered NIJ solicitation as basis for a Daubert hearing. Being towards the end of the day, the Judge stated he would review the solicitation overnight. The prosecution offered the NIJ letter dated 6/20/00 and prior court decisions. The next day the Judge heard oral arguments from the attorneys and ruled that a Daubert Hearing was not necessary and further, concurred with the Havvard decision. Click here to read the transcript of the 7 DEC 2000 ruling.

APPELLATE COURT RULING: Click here to read the 20 DEC 2001 Appellate Court ruling. Summary: United States v. Rogers, No. 01-4455 (4th Cir. Dec. 20, 2001) (unpublished).  Defense argued that despite testimony by Secret Service experts, it is untested and unproven that all fingerprints are unique and further that no uniform standards govern fingerprint matching other than training, peer review and double checking. Government argued that to the extent fingerprint matching involves subjective judgment, the possibility of error was mitigated by having two experts examine the prints. Secret service fingerprint experts testified to seven corresponding (Level 2) characteristics. Every circuit addressing the issue of fingerprint identification admissibility both before and after Daubert has held fingerprint evidence admissible, and many courts have even refused to conduct evidentiary hearings on the issue. Further, any error regarding admissibility of fingerprint testimony would have been harmless in that other evidence against defendant was overwhelming.

(Frye Hearing)
US v William Baker, et al; Superior Court of the District of Columbia; (Four defendant trial. Actual motion was filed under US v Bryant C. Woodland, Criminal Number F-2377-00.)

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
November 13, 2000; Washington D.C.

JUDGE:
Hon. Russell Canan, U. S. District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSA Jeff Beatrice (202.616.3323)
Defense: Douglas Wham, Sharon Burka, Russell Hairston, Carlos Vanegas

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Stephen Meagher, FBI. Due to scheduling conflict and at end of the day, there was no cross-examination by defense at that time. Rescheduled to continue at a later date.

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None. Prof. James Starrs, George Washington University, was proffered as the defense witness, but after Government witness testimony no defense witness testimony was presented and no need for cross-examination of government's witness.

DECISION:
Defense motion was withdrawn.

US v. Ahmed Ressam, Criminal Action No. CR99-666C, US District Court for the Western District of Washington

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
No hearing was held.  Transcripts of prior Daubert hearings from cases including US v. Mitchell, E.D. Pa., were submitted to the trial court for his review in Seattle, Washington

JUDGE:
Hon. J. John C. Coughenour, US District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSAs Jerry Diskin (206.553.1657); Andrew Hamilton (206.553.4402); and Steven Gonzalez (206.553.8762)
Defense: Thomas Hillier, Michael Filopovic and Jo Ann Oliver

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
No witnesses were called

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
No witnesses called

DECISION:
Written order by Judge Coughenour in which he denied the defense motion to exclude fingerprint evidence.  The trial court held that fingerprint evidence had been a mainstay of identification evidence for decades and that the reliability of such evidence has never been diminished by defense attacks.

On April 6, 2001, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts.  The reliability of latent print comparisons was never raised at trial. 

The People of the State of California vs. David Ake; Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Butte, No. CM013606

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
May 7th, 2001; Butte County, California, Argument only

JUDGE:
Hon. Gerald Hermanson 

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: DA Michael L. Ramsey, Deputy DA D. Marc Noel
Defense: Phillip Heithecker 

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Jeanne Clark, California Department of Justice

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
Oral opinion.  Daubert and Kumho are not applicable in California.  California is controlled by People v. Kelly, 17 Cal. 3rd 24 (1976).  Fingerprint evidence is neither new nor novel.  No Kelly hearing is required.  The stateís expert is qualified and will be permitted to testify at trial.  The defendantís motion to exclude fingerprint evidence is denied.

PEOPLEíS RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTíS MOTION TO EXCLUDE FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE PDF

State of Arizona v. Toribio Rodriquez; Pima County Superior Court, Case No. 41640

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
April 24 - May 7, 2001, Tucson, Arizona

JUDGE:
Hon. Richard Fields

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: DA David White
Defense: David Braum

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
Jim Wallace, Tucson Police Department
Candice King, Arizona Department of Public Safety
Tod Whittard, Arizona Department of Public Safety

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
Prof. James Starrs, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

DECISION:
Issue was raised during the trial. The Judge required Starrs to qualify and profer his position outside the presence of the jury. The Judge prohibited Starrs' from using some of his exhibits before the jury. The fingerprint expert presented responses to the issues raised by Starrs and testified to the evidence and the identifications. The defendent was found guilty.

(Civil matter)
Anthony Golden v. County of Los Angeles, et. al., US District Court for the Central District of California, Case #CV 97-6140

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
September 24, 1999; Los Angeles, CA

JUDGE:
Hon. Christina A. Snyder

ATTORNEYS:
Plaintiff: Ellen Hammill Allison
Defendent: Los Angeles Principal Deputy County Council Dennis M. Gonzales

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
William Leo, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

PLAINTIFF WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
The motion to exclude the fingerprint evidence and expert testimony was denied. The plaintiff filed a written motion to exclude fingerprint evidence patterned after the motions in US v Byron Mitchell for a Daubert hearing. (Of interest -- this is the first attack on fingerprints in a civil rights lawsuit. During the examination of the government witness, the attack on the fingerprint evidence alleged a failure of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department to follow national standards or procedures. The expert responded that the guidelines established by SWGFAST were followed to include training of fingerprint examiners, the comparison process and verification.)

US vs. Deago Lance Cheshier, US District Court Southern District of Indiana, IP 01-01-CR-01-T/F

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
June 1, 2001; Indianapolis, IN

JUDGE:
Hon. John Daniel Tinder, US District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Government: AUSA Susan Dowd
Defendent: William Dazey

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
None

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
The motion to exclude the fingerprint evidence and expert testimony was denied. The plaintiff argued to exclude fingerprint evidence primarily based on the NIJ solicitation. The defendant claims that the NIJ solicitation casts doubt on the conclusion reached in the Havvard case and that it undermines the testimony presented in Havvard. The court disagreed.

US v. Martinez-Cintron, 136 F. Supp.2d 17 (D. P.R. 2001).

DATE and LOCATION of HEARING:
Decision March 21, 2001 Puerto Rico

JUDGE:
Hon. Arenas, United States Magistrate Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSA Michelle Morales
Defense: Hector E. Guzman-Silva, Federal Public Defender

GOVERNMENT WITNESSES:
N/A

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
N/A

DECISION:
Written decision filed 3/21/01.  Defense motion to exclude fingerprint evidence denied.  Court will not exclude the evidence based on the defendantís memorandum proffer.

US v. Justin Gabriel Hernandez, 4:00CR3039, US District Court for the District of Nebraska

DATE and LOCATION of DAUBERT HEARING:
July 24, 2001, Lincoln, Nebraska

JUDGE:
Hon. Richard G. Kopf, U. S. District Court Judge

ATTORNEYS:
Prosecution: AUSA Sara E. Fullerton (402.437.5241)
Defense: Gregory C. Damman

GOVERNMENT WITNESS:
Robert W. Citta, Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln, Nebraska

DEFENSE WITNESSES:
None

DECISION:
Oral decision presented by Judge Kopf on July 24, 2001.  The defense motion to exclude fingerprint testimony was denied.  No written decision.
 

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