AL / GA / ID / IL / IN / IA / ME / MA / MI / MN / MS / NY / NC / OK / OR / RI / SC / TN / TX / VA

Alabama


Robinson v. State, 574 So. 2d 910, 918 (Ala. Crim. App. 1990)


The Court of Criminal Appeals in the state of Alabama among other rulings, held that the blood spatter interpretation had sufficient recognition in the scientific community for such evidence to be admissible. The statement by expert witness that there was a universal recognition of interpretations that could be gleaned from blood spatter or blood smear was sufficient to require defendant to state specific grounds for excluding blood spatter analysis as not generally recognized within scientific community.  Blood spatter or bloodstain pattern interpretation had sufficient recognition within scientific community for such evidence to be admissible, even assuming that Frye test applies.  It was observed that one court has taken judicial notice of the “general acceptance” of blood spatter or blood stain patter interpretation; Lewis v. State, 737 S.W.2d 857, 860 (Tex. App. 1987), In Lewis, the Texas Court of Appeals states: “The…bloodstain pattern studies are based on general principles of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, and his methods use tools as widely recognized as the microscope; his techniques are neither untested nor unreliable.”   

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.


Georgia


Hester v. State, 272 Ga. 197,199, 528 S.E.2d 501 (2000)

 

The Supreme Court of Georgia among other rulings, held FBI agent was qualified to testify as expert on blood splatter analysis.  Finding that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent was qualified to testify as expert was supported by agent’s testimony that he had over 200 hours of crime scene investigation and that he had attended one 60-hour course on blood splatter analysis and another 40-hour class on subject sponsored by the FBI.  Lack of evidence that blood splatter stains examined by expert were human blood went to weight and not to admissibility of expert’s testimony, in malice murder prosecution.  Because expertise can be based upon training and experience, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in accepting the FBI agent as an expert on blood spatter analysis. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


Idaho


State v. Rodgers, 119 Idaho 812 P.2d 1208 (1991) 

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Idaho among other rulings, held expert interpretation of blood spatter evidence to show that victim was moving upstairs when he first was shot was admissible in prosecution of defendant claiming self-defense, and forensic scientist and coroner could be found to be qualified as experts on interpretation of blood spatter evidence.

Expert interpretation of blood spatter evidence shows that victim was moving upstairs when he was first shot was admissible in murder prosecution of defendant claiming self-defense; blood spatter analysis was well-recognized discipline which assisted jurors, would not cause jurors to be over impressed by reliability, and did not involve overly complex scientific or technological concepts with potential for juror confusion.

Forensic scientist and coroner could be found to be qualified as experts on interpretation of blood spatter evidence in murder prosecution; scientist and coroner had been trained in and had experience in blood spatter analysis.  The geometric bloodstain interpretation is a method used to reconstruct the scene of the crime.  Bloodstains are uniform in character and conform to the laws of inertia, centrifugal force and physics.  The study of the blood pattern along with its size and shape helps to determine the source of the blood and any movement that might have occurred after the bloodshed began, including subsequent violent attacks upon the victim.

Upon shepardizing, there was negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.


Illinois


State v. Owens, 155 Ill. App. 3d 990, 508 N.E.2d 1088, 108 Ill. Dec. 511 (Ill.          App. 4th Dist. 1987)

 

The Appellate Court of the state of Illinois among other rulings, held that the state failed to establish adequate foundation for admission of police officer’s testimony that victim was seated as evidenced by spattered blood and that the officer was not qualified to testify as an expert blood-spatter analyst.  The state offering scientific evidence is required to establish that evidence is based on well-recognized principle that has gained general acceptance in its field.  The scientific evidence of relationship between spattered blood and the position of the victim when shot was inadmissible without foundation evidence regarding scientific reliability of police officer’s blood spatter testimony, evidence demonstrating reliability of spatter characteristics of human blood in determining the position of victim, and evidence concerning source of the officer’s training, techniques learned, or applications of technique. 

For a witness to be qualified as an expert they must possess experience and qualifications which afford him or her knowledge that is not common to a lay person and that will assist the trier of fact in reaching conclusions.  The police officer who testified concerning the relationship between spattered blood and position of murder victim when shot, was not qualified as expert blood-spatter analyst, even though he testified on cross-examination that he had studied blood spatter technique, where the state did not produce any evidence of officer’s training or experience in field of blood-spatter analysis.  Error, as result of police officer’s testimony that murder victim was seated when shot as indicated by spattered blood, required reversal, where evidence was closely balanced, and where officer’s testimony could have been key factor in jury’s decision to find defendant guilty and to reject self-defense claim.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


State v. Knox, 121 Ill.App.3d 579, 459 N.E.2d 1077, 1080, 76 Ill. Dec. 942    (Ill.   App. 3rd Dist. 1984)

 

The Appellate Court of the state of Illinois among other rulings, held that the defendant waived issue concerning State's failure to inform defendant that officer would be used as expert in blood splattering and to provide statement of officer's qualifications, blood stain evidence can be subject of expert evaluation in Illinois, adequate foundation for blood stain evidence was established, and the officer was properly qualified as expert in field of blood stain evidence. Admissibility of police officer’s expert testimony as blood flight specialist and adequacy of his qualifications were matters left to discretion of trial court; trial court’s decision to permit officer to testify was subject to reversal only if it constituted abuse of discretion.  State was required to show that evidence of expert concerning splatter characteristics of human blood was based upon well-recognized scientific principle or technique which had gained general acceptance in particular field in which it belonged.  Bloodstain evidence does not require foundation in science of physics. Adequate foundation for bloodstain evidence was established in prosecution for murder, in that police officer testified he had attended school in blood flight splashings and patterns at college in New York and had attended blood flight workshop, that his identification of blood patterns was based upon experiments conducted with human blood, and that such experiments involved reproducing various blood stains and splashings observed at crime scenes to enable him to deduce where source of blood splashing at crime scene was located.  Officer had been a police officer for over 12 years and crime scene investigator for 10 years.  Trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting him to testify in prosecution for murder.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


People v. Evans, 369 Ill. App. 3d 366 (4th dist. 2006)


The Appellate Court of Illinois among other rulings held the crime-scene investigator field supervisor was qualified to testify as an expert bloodstain-pattern analysis.  Crime-scene investigator field supervisor was qualified to testify at murder trial as an expert on bloodstain-pattern analysis, where supervisor testified that he had 170 hours of training in field of bloodstain-pattern analysis, had previously been qualified as an expert in field 6 times in other state courts, and had 24 years of experience as a state police officer with the last 6 years concentrating on forensics with a specialty in bloodstain-pattern analysis, supervisor named a number of periodicals and texts that he had read and relied upon in conducting his analysis, had conducted numerous experiments with human blood, and received continuing education.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

People v. Erickson, 89 Ill. App. 3d 56, 44 Ill. Dec. 138, 411 N.E.2d 44 (2d  Dist. 1980)

 

The Appellate Court of the state of Illinois among other rulings, held that even though there was no evidence of motive for husband’s killing wife and evidence was circumstantial, evidence was sufficient to sustain murder conviction of husband. 

An expert on “impact splatter” of blood testified that the dispersion of the victim’s blood on the defendant’s clothing was in a pattern suggesting the murderer had beaten the victim’s head against the floor and that certain spots of blood had gotten on the defendant’s clothing in the process or course of doing so.  These spots were distinct from the bloodstains, which might have gotten on the defendant’s clothing from lifting the victim’s head or body off the floor.  At the trial, the defendant offered no reasonable explanation of his wife’s death but contended that an unknown intruder must have killed her and that the circumstantial evidence against him was not sufficient to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.  It was established by the state’s expert witness that the blood found on the defendant’s coat as well as on his socks and the bottom of his trousers, and also a small speck of blood on his eyeglasses, was type A blood-his wife’s type-and not the defendant’s blood-which was type O.  While the evidence may be said to be circumstantial as to the identity of the murderer, the court does not find any evidence whatsoever supporting the defendant’s hypothesis of an intruder having gotten into the building and killed his wife.  Nor is there any persuasive evidence refuting the finding of the expert that the pattern of blood dispersion in the drops of blood found on the defendant’s clothing suggest that they resulted from the defendant beating his wife’s had against the laundry room floor.  Moreover, the small handprint on the defendant’s coat sleeve clearly reflects resistance by the victim and that that resistance was against the defendant.  The defense’s hypothesis is based on a mere surmise or possibility without any evidence to support it, the evidence whether circumstantial or not, was sufficient to sustain the conviction.

 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

Indiana

 

Fox v. State, 506 N.E.2d 1090, 1095 (Ind. 1987)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Indiana among other rulings, held that the Trial Court could rule that detective’s limited experience in interpreting blood spattering went to weight of his expert testimony, rather than its admissibility. In order to qualify as expert, subject matter of expert’s opinion must be so distinctly related to some science, profession, business, or occupation as to be beyond knowledge of an average lay person, and witness must have sufficient skill, knowledge or experience in field to make it appear that witness opinion or inference will aid trier of fact in search for truth; no precise quantum of knowledge is required if witness shows sufficient acquaintance with subject.  Determination of whether witness is qualified to testify as expert is within sound discretion of trial court, whose rulings will not be disturbed absent abuse of discretion.  Trial court could rule that detective’s limited expertise in interpreting blood spatterings went to weight of his expert testimony in that regard rather than its admissibility.   In order to qualify as an expert, two requirements must be met.  First, the subject matter of the expert’s opinion must be so distinctly related to some science, profession, business, or occupation as to be beyond the knowledge of the average layperson.  Second, the witness must have sufficient skill, knowledge, or experience in the field to make it appear that the witness’ opinion or inference will aid the trier of fact in searching for the truth.  The determination of whether a witness is qualified to testify as an expert is within the sound discretion of the trial court whose rulings will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

 

James v. State, 613 N.E.2d 15, 22 (Ind. 1993)


The Supreme Court of the state of Indiana among other rulings, held the defendant should have been provided with a blood spatter expert.  Criminal defendant is not constitutionally entitled, at public expense, to any type or number of expert witnesses he desires to support his case.  Defendant who requests funds for expert witness has burden of demonstrating need for that expert.  Appointment of experts is left to sound discretion of trial court, and only abuse of that discretion will result in reversal, but trial court must provide defendant access to experts where it is clear that prejudice will otherwise result.  Defendant in capital felony-murder prosecution should have been provided with blood spatter expert, and failure to provide one was reversible error; testimony from state blood spatter expert, which provided evidence of intentional killing, was central in penalty phase and was highlighted by state in final argument, and defense counsel would not normally be expected to possess knowledge concerning cross-examination of expert.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


Hampton v. State, 588 N.E.2d 555, 557 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992)


The Court of Appeals of the state of Indiana among other rulings, held that evidence indicated that blood stain analysis was a field of expertise which was generally recognized as reliable. Determination of whether witness is qualified to testify as expert is within sound discretion of trial court, whose ruling will not be disturbed absent abuse of discretion.  In order to qualify as expert, subject matter must be related to some scientific field beyond knowledge of average layperson, and witness must have sufficient skill, knowledge or experience in field to make it appear that the witness' opinion will aid the trier of fact. No precise quantum of knowledge is required for qualification as expert if witness shows sufficient acquaintance with the subject. The court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed police sergeant to be qualified as expert in area of blood stain analysis, where the sergeant had been a field technician for 18 years and was supervisor of five technicians, had been sent to school for blood flight interpretations given by noted expert in area of blood flight, assisted another prominent expert on blood flight analysis, and had seen and diagramed over 100 homicide scenes since becoming technician.  Bloodstain analysis is field of expertise, which is generally recognized as reliable, and, thus, expert testimony on bloodstain analysis is permissible.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.


Iowa


State v. Hall, 297 N.W.2d 80 (Iowa 1980)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Iowa among other rulings, held that trial court did not abuse its discretion in   finding bloodstain analysis sufficiently reliable to be admissible, in that foundation evidence of reliability and inherent understandability of evidence itself provided sufficient basis for its admission.  Matters involving scientific or other special knowledge, general scientific acceptance is not prerequisite to admission of evidence, scientific or otherwise, if reliability of evidence is otherwise established.  It was testified that blood patterns on the defendant’s clothing could only have been produced by being in the immediate vicinity where blood was spattered at a great velocity, as in a stabbing or beating, and that it could not have resulted from mere contact with the body, also blood patterns on the defendant’s pants were consistent with wiping a blood knife like the murder weapon.  The knife blade had been broken during the attack, and cloth fibers were found on the broken edge, indicating that the victim had been stabbed with the knife after it was broken, after being photographed the knife blade had fibers removed from it for testing.  The fibers were consistent with those on the victim’s blouse.  Trial court, in prosecution for manslaughter, did not abuse discretion in admitting bloodstain analysis evidence; foundation evidence of reliability, consisting of expert witness’ experience and status as leading expert in field, existence of national training programs, and use of analysis by police departments throughout country in their day-to-day operations, and inherent understandability of evidence itself providing sufficient basis for its admission.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.


Maine


State v. Hilton, 431 A.2d 1296 (Me. 1981)

 

The Supreme Judicial Court of the state of Maine among other rulings, held that the Trial Court did not err in overruling defense counsel’s objection to State’s question on redirect examination of State’s blood-spatter expert as to whether expert had examined defendant’s clothing and as to what expert found. Where trial justice stopped defense counsel from eliciting further questions from witness only after counsel had elicited testimony showing that police officer had not told other investigators about persons who had fought with homicide victim; trial Judge ruling sustaining state’s objection to further questions on grounds that such evidence was unduly speculative concerning issue of whether police had ignored persons who had motive to kill victim was not erroneous.  Even if state’s question asked of medical examiner on reexamination concerning where blood which formed pool on floor had originated when beyond matters brought out in defense counsel’s cross-examination, trial justice was within his discretion in allowing state’s expanded inquiry, where witness’ reply to defense counsel’s question concerning whether witness had seen blood on victim’s body was that witness had seen blood stains on body and that some of blood had been drawn up into victim’s clothing from pool on floor.  Where blood-spatter expert’s testimony concerning possible blood stain he had found on defendant’s trousers was guarded, trousers had already been introduced into evidence without objection, the trial court did not err in overruling defense counsel’s objection to State’s question on redirect as to whether expert had examined defendant’s clothing, and, upon examination, what expert had found.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

          State v. Philbrick, 436 A.2d 844 (Me. 1981)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Maine among other rulings, held that demonstrative evidence and “expert” testimony regarding sequence of shots fired by defendant was improperly admitted.  In murder prosecution, relevance of in-court demonstration of front seat and dashboard of victim’s car and mannequins representing victim and defendant was greatly outweighed by highly prejudicial effect of the rough construction, which used techniques of nonverifiable accuracy of events the witness was not present to see and, as the demonstration did not portray the automobile in substantially the same condition it was in immediately after the shooting and there was no showing of comparative similarity between the mannequins and persons involved in the altercation, the trial court erred in permitting the demonstration.  The Trial Judge in admitting “expert” testimony regarding blood spatters found in the victim’s automobile, reversibly erred in failing to consider whether the testimony called for specialized knowledge that would assist trier of facts to understand the evidence, whether the witness was qualified to give opinion sought, and whether probative value of the evidence was outweighed by countervailing considerations.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was  negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


Massachusetts


Com. V. Powell, 450 Mass. 877 N.E.2d 589 (2007)


The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, among other rulings on a blood sample, the expert’s testimony on blood spatter was sufficiently reliable to render it admissible and that the expert’s opinion on the blood spatter was supported by reasonable basis. 

The expert’s testimony opinion that blood spatter evidence was consistent with the victim having been killed in position contrary to defendant’s statement was sufficiently reliable under Daubert, to render it admissible in murder prosecution, and to be generally accepted by a sufficiently broad community of scientific experts.

The evidence was consistent with the victim having been killed while seated in the recliner.  This evidence would refute the defendant’s statement to the police that he found the victim’s body on the basement floor and merely moved him to the recliner.  The trial Judge conducted a Daubert-Lanigan hearing outside the jury’s presence to consider this issue, the defendant produced no witnesses and the trial Judge concluded that the evidence was reliable and therefore admissible.  The new Daubert standard was adopted in part which set forth five factors which should be reviewed when determining the reliability of proposed scientific evidence, Lanigan’s progeny makes clear that general acceptance.  According to an expert on bloodstain analysis, bloodstain analysis is a forensic tool in which stains of blood at a crime scene or “bloodshed event” are examined and provide relevant information.  The analysis is based on scientific principles of physics and mathematics.  It involves examining the pattern or characteristics that a drop of blood exhibits after being deposited on a substrate, or surface.  The analysis includes examination of the size and shape of the blood spot, indicating the direction and presence of any pattern spot.  The expert also stated that the analysis also can indicate the “source of the blood” or the “origin” of the blood that created the stain, which is done by determining the arc sine of the width over the length of the bloodstain, is used to compute the angle.  The “string method” is one method used to determine the origin of the blood that created the stain.  This method is applied when there is a “group” of bloodstains that involves first using the mathematical equation above noted.  Then, in accordance with the measurements and angles in the mathematical equation, strings are put through “the central axis, the long axis of the blood spot,” and collectively indicate the origin of the blood.  A sufficiently broad community of experts generally accepts both bloodstain analysis and the use of the string method to determine the area of origin of bloodstains.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

  Commonwealth v. Sturtivant, 117 Mass.  122, 1875 WL 9002 (1875)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Massachusetts among other rulings, held that whether a witness, not an expert, is qualified to express his opinion as a conclusion of fact, is to be decided by the judge presiding at the trial; and his finding is not open to revision, unless, upon a report of all the evidence, it is shown to be without foundation, or is based on some erroneous application of legal principles.  On the trial of an indictment for murder, a witness familiar with blood, who had examined, with a lens, a blood-stain on a coat, when it was fresh, and who testified to its appearance at the time he examined it, and that it was not in the same condition at the trail, was permitted to testify that its appearance when he examined it indicated the direction from which it came, and that it came from below upward, although he had never experimented with blood or other fluid in this respect.  Held that the admission of the testimony afforded no ground of exception.  Common observers, having special opportunity for observation, may testify to their opinions as conclusions of fact, although they are not experts, if the subject-matter to which the testimony relates cannot be reproduced or described to the jury precisely as it appeared to the witness at the time, and the facts upon which the witness is called to express his opinion are such as men in general are capable of comprehending and understanding.  Every person is competent to express an opinion on a question of identity as applied to persons, things, animals, or handwriting, and may give his judgment in regard to the size, color, weight of objects, and may state his opinion in regard to sounds, their character, from what they proceed, and the direction from which they seem to come from.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

Michigan

 

People v. Haywood, 209 Mich. App. 217, 224, 530 N.W.2d 497 (1995)

 

The Court of Appeals of the state of Michigan among other rulings, held that the bloodstain interpretation evidence was admissible and the officer was a qualified expert.  General scientific recognition may not be established without testimony of disinterested and impartial experts whose livelihood is not intimately connected with new technique.  Because bloodstain interpretation is based on principles that are neither novel nor contested, testimony on bloodstain interpretation may be admitted without need for hearing pursuant to Davis-Frye rule; trial courts may take judicial notice of general acceptance of bloodstain interpretation by scientific community.  Officer called to testify on bloodstain interpretation in second-degree murder prosecution clearly qualified by knowledge, experience, and training as expert; officer had received over 100 hours of training in bloodstain analysis and attended 5 different seminars, he had utilized that training in approximately 100 previous cases, and officer indicated that he was familiar with literature on subject and teaches course on bloodstain interpretation to other law enforcement officers. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert and Frye.

 

Minnesota

 

State v. Moore, 458 N.W.2d 90, 96 (Minn. 1990)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Minnesota among other rulings, held that blood splatter analysis evidence was admissible.  Sufficiency of expert's qualifications, like proper foundation, rests within sound discretion of trial court.  Trained serologist who had performed 30 to 35 blood splatter interpretations in the past was qualified to testify as expert on blood splatter interpretation in murder prosecution, although serologist did not have training in specific area of blood splatter interpretation.  Serologist's testimony concerning blood splatter interpretation was sufficient to establish that such interpretation was generally accepted technique within scientific community.  Serologist's testimony concerning use of approximately 20 blood splatters in room in which victim was shot to calculate point of convergence of fatal gunshot wound was sufficient to establish that blood splatter analysis used was reliable, making evidence based on blood splatter analysis admissible.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.

 

Mississippi

Jones v. State of Mississippi, 918 So. 2d 1220 (2005)


Among other issues related to the Court and sufficiency of evidence, the Supreme Court of Mississippi held that, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing an expert to give opinion testimony concerning blood patterns on defendant’s tee shirt. 

Prior to the blood pattern expert’s testimony, serologist testified the stains on the shirt were human blood; blood pattern expert testified it was the job of the serologist to determine if the stains were human blood and blood pattern expert’s job to analyze the stain pattern. 

Prior to the blood pattern expert’s testimony, serologist testified the stains on the shirt were human, blood.  The jury was instructed that if it felt that the serologist was mistaken in her opinion, and that the blood pattern expert was basing his opinion on unsubstantiated assumptions, the jury could disregard the expert testimony in it’s entirety, Rules of Evidence 702.  If the jury felt that the defense’s expert testimony was more credible than that of the prosecution’s expert, then the jury certainly could have accepted the defense’s testimony, that one of the bloodstains was a transfer pattern consistent with the defendant’s theory that he discovered the homicide and was moving the body to the bed upon discovery of it.  By its guilty verdict, the jury obviously chose to accept the prosecution’s expert testimony, which had been admitted by the trial court in performing its gate-keeping role under Daubert.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Fry.


New York


People v. Whitaker, 289 A.D.2d 84, 734 N.Y.S.2d 149 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. 2001)

 

The Supreme Court of New York among other rulings held the testimony of blood spatter analysis expert was admissible.  The procedures involved in analysis did not involve novel scientific techniques, and therefore there was no issue as to the validity of techniques utilized.  The court properly exercised its discretion in admitting the testimony of a blood spatter analysis expert.  The expert clearly testified that his analysis was not based solely on common sense, but also included professional or technical knowledge beyond the knowledge of the typical juror.  Although defendant contends that the court erred in admitting such testimony because blood spatter analysis has not gained general acceptance in the scientific community, the procedures involved in such analysis do not involve novel scientific techniques, and, therefore, there was no issue as to the validity of the techniques utilized.  Moreover, the court agrees with the conclusion reached by the fourth department and courts of other jurisdictions that blood spatter evidence is scientifically reliable.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.


People v. Barnes, 267 A.D.2d 1020, 701 N.Y.S.2d 201 (N.Y. App. Div. 4th Dept. 1999)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of New York among other rulings, held that the denial of the defendants request for a Frye hearing on the admissibility of evidence of blood spatter interpretation was not an abuse of discretion, such evidence had long been determined reliable.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.

 

North Carolina

 

State v. Daughtry, 459 S.E.2d 747 (1995)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of North Carolina among other rulings, held the testimony of special agent as expert in forensic serology and bloodstain pattern interpretation was admissible.  If 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 may testify in the form of an opinion.  It was concluded the expert’s scientific testimony could assist the jury in determining whether defendant killed the victim, thus making him competent to testify.  The expert may give their opinion based on evidence not otherwise admissible at trial, provided the evidence is of the type reasonably relied upon by other experts in the field.  

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


Oklahoma


Stouffer v. State, 2006 OK CR 46, 174 P.3d 245,279 (Oakla. Crim. App. 2006)


The Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma, among other rulings, held that the prosecutor’s use of specific prior cases to show crime scene reconstruction expert’s level of expertise did not rise to level of plain error.  The Court of Criminal Appeals would review for plain error issue of whether testimony of police officer describing blood spatter as either high-velocity or medium-velocity constituted improper expert testimony, in capital murder prosecution, as defendant failed to preserve this issue at trial.  The admission of police officer’s testimony was not plain error, despite defendant’s claim that the officer was not a blood spatter expert; the officer’s expertise was not challenged at trial, and, thus, there was no record to determine whether he was a blood spatter expert, officer did not testify about blood pattern analysis or any other analysis concerning blood spatter, and expert testimony was properly introduced through state’s expert on blood spatter analysis. 

The testimony of state’s witness on crime scene reconstruction regarding “staging” was part of crime scene reconstruction, and, thus, was admissible, in capital murder prosecution; expert explained that “staging” constructed actions taken by a person that were meant to disrupt or alter the crime scene so that it was made to look different and to throw investigators off of the true track, and expert in this area had to determine whether things occurred naturally or whether the events were staged.  Where a trial court sustains an objection and no request is made to have the jury admonished, Court of Criminal Appeals reviews for plain error only.  The prosecutor’s use of specific prior cases to show crime scene reconstruction expert’s level of expertise did not rise to level of plain error, and that this did not affect the outcome of trial, as evidence of the defendant’s guilt was overwhelming.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

 

Farris v. State, 670 P.2d 995 (Okla. Crim. App. 1983)

 

The Court of Criminal Appeals of the state of Oklahoma held the trial court properly admitted opinion testimony of police officer as expert witness on geometric bloodstain interpretation. The geometric bloodstain interpretation is a method used to reconstruct the scene of the crime.  Bloodstains are uniform in character and conform to the laws of inertia, centrifugal force, and physics.  The study of the blood pattern along with its size and shape helps to determine the source of the blood and any movement that might have occurred after the bloodshed began, including subsequent violent attacks upon the victim.  The court defined “expert witness” as one who possesses scientific knowledge and experience in relation to matters, which are not generally known.  The officer testified that he is the supervisor of the technical investigation unit at Oklahoma City Police Department.  He has been certified by the FBI and New Scotland Yard for identification work and has two certificates for geometric blood stain interpretation from the Florida medical examiner’s office and Elmira College New York.  He has taught 5 courses on the subject and given lectures in several states and is a member of the American and British Academy of Forensic Science.  The decision of whether the witness is an “expert” or not is within the sound discretion of the trial court.  After the trial court ruled that the geometric bloodstain interpretation was admissible, the jury was instructed that they were the judges of fact and could either accept or reject the interpretation.  We hold that the trial court properly admitted opinion testimony of the expert witness on geometric bloodstain interpretation.   

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

Romano v. State, 1995 OK CR 74 909 P.2d 92, 111-112 (Okla. Cr. 1995)

 

The Court of Criminal Appeals of the state of Oklahoma among other rulings, held that part of blood spatter expert’s testimony overstepped proper bounds of an expert opinion.  This was reviewed for plain error the acceptance of blood spatter evidence at defendant’s murder trial and the scope of that evidence, where defendant made no objection as to admissibility or scope at trial.  While expert witnesses can suggest the inferences, which jurors should draw from application of specialized knowledge to the facts, opinion testimony that merely tells a jury what result to reach is inadmissible.  The testimony at murder trial by blood spatter expert, based on examination of photographs and defendant’s clothing, that the spatters in the photograph were consistent with the theory that the wearer of the clothes was in very close proximity to decedent and may have participated in the stabbing was not improper expert opinion on the ultimate issue of the defendant’s guilt, rather, it was admissible expert testimony based on facts or data of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field of blood spatter analysis when forming opinions.  Blood spatter expert at murder trial was improperly permitted to testify to his opinion; testimony overstepped bounds of proper expert opinion by removing jury’s fact finding function, and it was more prejudicial than probative because it carried the substantial weight and credibility of an expert opinion.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

Oregon

 

 State v. Proctor, 94 Or. App. 720, 723, 767 P.2d 453 (1989)


The Court of Appeals in the state of Oregon among other rulings, held that the expert’s testimony relating to collection and identification of high velocity blood spatter from defendant’s shirt was admissible.  The expert testified that he was not expecting to find blood spatter in his forensic examination, he scraped and vacuumed the surface of the shirt and examined the results debris microscopically, looking for hairs and fibers that might serve as evidence linking defendant to the crime.  He discovered that the debris contained blood particles of a size and shape consistent with high velocity blood spatter caused by the impact of a bullet into a nearby bloody target.  The technique he employed to collect the sample was not one that would ordinarily be used to determine the presence of blood spatter.  A traditional blood imaging procedure was later performed on the shirt, revealing the presence of high velocity blood spatter in the right shoulder area.  Defendant argues that the evidence should have been excluded because of the novel nature of the method used to collect the blood sample.  Novelty of technique used to collect blood particles did not make the testimony regarding collection and identification of high velocity blood spatter from defendant’s shirt inadmissible; foundation laid for testimony demonstrated that method employed was sufficiently reliable to permit admission of evidence, and all other aspects of investigation were well-known in field of blood spatter analysis.  If conditions for admissibility of expert testimony, that testimony is relevant and will help the trier of fact in deciding disputed issue, are satisfied, testimony may yet be excluded if it is substantially more prejudicial than probative. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.


Rhode Island

 

State v. Chiellini, 557 A.2d 1195, 1202 (R.I. 1989)

 

The Superior Court of the state of Rhode Island among other rulings, held that an expert in criminalistics was qualified to testify, and that the expert’s testimony was relevant and admissible.  Trial justice committed no abuse of discretion in ruling, after conducting fairly extensive voir dire, that expert in criminalistics was qualified to testify as expert limited to issues of maximum distance that blood droplets could travel and type of geometric bloodstain pattern found on defendant’s shirt; expert held graduate degree in criminalistics and was professor of criminology at Leading University, he coauthored textbook on forensic science and published approximately 25 articles in scientific journals, and he had reviewed thousands of bloodstain patterns, including several hundred in actual criminal cases. “Relevant evidence” is evidence having any tendency to establish or disprove existence of a fact material to crime charged.  Testimony of expert in criminalistics as to bloodstain pattern found on defendant’s shirt was relevant as tending to prove how blood came to be on defendant’s shirt and was thus admissible in second-degree murder prosecution.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

South Carolina

 

  State v. Myers, 301 S.C. 251, 256, 391 S.E.2d 551 (1990)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of South Carolina among other rulings, held that the trial Judge’s refusal to allow defense witness to testify as expert in blood spatter interpretation was prejudicial abuse of discretion.  It is incumbent upon party offering expert witness to show that witness possesses necessary learning, skill or practical experience to enable him to give opinion testimony; however, defects in amount and quality of education or experience generally go to weight to be accorded expert’s testimony and not its admissibility.  The Trial Judge based this of the grounds that the witness had attended only a one-week seminar on characteristics of bloodstain evidence and had never testified in court before on blood pattern interpretations; witness’ qualifications went to weight of her testimony and not its admissibility.  The trial Judge here applied the rules concerning the qualifying of an expert too stringently, and that his ruling impacted on the fairness of the trial.  The state’s counsel at oral argument conceded that the interpretation of bloodstains and spatters is a matter for expert opinion; a matter outside the knowledge of ordinary jurors.  Thus, expert testimony was warranted.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

Tennessee

 

  State v. Melson, 638 S.W.2d 342 (Tenn.  1982)

 

The Supreme Court of Tennessee among other rulings, held that affidavit in support of search warrant need not set forth material establishing credibility of “citizen-informants.”  Evidence, including evidence that victim and defendant had argument over his having taken gasoline, that ball peen hammer found in defendant’s truck could have been the murder weapon, that hair found on the hammer and embedded in substance suspected to be blood matched victim’s hair, that hair found on victim’s blouse matched defendant’s hair and that spattered bloodstain patterns on defendant’s clothing could have resulted from a head being repeatedly struck with blunt instrument, was sufficient to sustain defendant’s conviction of first degree murder.  Search warrant may be invalidated on grounds that affidavit in support of the warrant contains reckless misrepresentations of material facts.  In prosecution for first-degree murder, evidence did not preponderate against finding that affidavit in support of warrant to search defendant’s truck had not contained any intentionally or recklessly made false statements.  Warrant’s description of the property to be searched for and seized from truck as a “blunt object, knife, or object capable of being used to strike, stab, cut, penetrate, and other paraphernalia pertaining to this incident” was sufficiently specific.  Mere fact that identity of a citizen informant was not disclosed in affidavit in support of search warrant did not preclude issuance of the warrant. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

Texas

 

Lewis v. State, 737 S.W.2d 857,861 (Tex. App.—Houston 1987)

 

The Court of Appeals of the state of Texas among other rulings, held that the bloodstain analysis testimony was admissible as expert testimony.  Judicial recognition of given technique is a factor in determining its general acceptance for expert testimony purposes.  General acceptance of expert’s methods of bloodstain analysis could be established by his testimony alone, where expert’s studies were based on general principles of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics and where challenged technique used tested and reliable methods.  Bloodstain analysis was proper subject of expert testimony and was admissible in murder prosecution. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

                   Cortijo v. State, 739 S.W.2d 486,489 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 1987)

 

The Court of Appeals of the state of Texas among other rulings, held that the forensic chemist was a qualified expert and that the testimony of forensic chemist was admissible.  The forensic chemist was qualified as expert in the interpretation of bloodstains, based on testimony that he had a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry, had worked in the lab for 10 years, had attended courses and conducted experiments on bloodstain patterns, and had taught courses on bloodstain interpretation to crime scene investigators.  Before an expert’s testimony may be admitted into evidence, three criteria must be met: the expert must be competent and qualified to testify, subject must be one upon which aid of expert opinion will be of assistance to jury, and testimony may not state legal conclusions.  Testimony of forensic chemist was admissible to assist jury in determining manner in which victim was attacked and where attacks occurred during commission of murder, since chemist was competent and qualified to testify as expert in interpretation of bloodstains and did not express opinion on whether defendant was or could have been perpetrator or murder.  Trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing witness to testify on rebuttal even though witness had been in courtroom and observed proceedings after witness exclusion rule was invoked, where witness was not in courtroom at any time after it became evident that her testimony would be necessary.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

Holmes v. States, 135 S. W. 3d 178, 180 (Tex. App. Waco 2004)


The Court of Appeals of Texas among other rulings held the police officer was a qualified expert on blood spatter analysis and the Court of Appeals would take judicial notice of scientific reliability of blood spatter analysis.  The officer’s qualifications are as follows: the officer testified that he had been employed with the Waco Department for 13 years.  His current assignment was as a detective for the special crimes unit.  The officer stated he had been a detective in that unit for six and a half years.  As a detective for the special crimes unit, the officer was responsible for conducting follow-up investigations on major crimes that occur against persons. The officer also testified that he had received Level 1 training in blood spatter analysis. He explained that there are two levels of training and that Level 1 training included the recognition of blood patters and blood spatter that is caused by some type of blood source at the scene. The Level 1 training session was one-week long and taught at the DPS academy in Austin. The officer estimated that he actually participated in 45-50 hours of instruction. The instructor, Bob Henderson, was a nationally known blood spatter expert. Henderson studies under Tom Bevel, another world-renowned blood spatter expert. In the class, the officer studies blood velocities, blood patters, blood sources, and weapons. The officer explained that the size of the blood drop, the bloodstain, or the blood patter is determined by several different variables such as what struck the blood source. He further explained that a projectile from a weapon would cause a fine mist of blood to hit whatever surface it strikes. He stated that a medium velocity weapon would be something like a club and a low velocity weapon would be something like a fist. The officer also studies the results of when weapons touch a blood source and then create a “castoff” patter. He explained that a cast-off pattern is created when an object, like a knife, contacts a blood source and, when removed from the blood source, distributes the blood that was on it to another surface such as a wall. This creates a different pattern than if someone was standing and dripping blood on a surface. To be considered reliable, evidence derived from scientific theory must satisfy three criteria, the underlying scientific theory must be valid, the technique applying the theory must be valid, and the technique must have been properly applied on the occasion in question. This is not limited to novel scientific evidence, but rather, applies to all scientific evidence.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

Alvarado v. State, 912 S.W.2d 199, 215-16 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995)


The Court of Criminal Appeals of the state of Texas among other rulings, held that the police officer was a qualified expert on bloodstain pattern interpretation.  Police officer had received more than sixty hours of training on subject from two different police departments, had read book on subject, and used method of type relied upon by experts in the field.  Trial court, before admitting expert testimony, must satisfied that three conditions are met:  that witness qualifies as expert by reason of his or her knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education; that subject matter of testimony is appropriate one for expert testimony; and that admitting expert testimony will actually assist fact finder in deciding case.  Trial court’s decision to admit expert testimony may not be disturbed on appeal absent abuse of discretion, and expert’s testimony on bloodstain pattern interpretation was appropriate to assist jury in determining defendant’s guilt or innocence in capital murder case. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

          Hartman v. State, 946 S.W.2d 60,62 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997)

 

The Court of Criminal Appeals of the state of Texas among other rulings, held that the Kelly test for determining admissibility of scientific evidence, requiring that scientific evidence be sufficiently reliable and relevant to help jury in reaching accurate results, is not limited to novel scientific evidence but, rather, applies to all scientific evidence.  The Trial Court’s task in assessing admissibility of scientific expert testimony is to determine whether scientific evidence is sufficiently reliable and relevant to help jury in reaching accurate results.  To be considered reliable, evidence based on scientific theory must have an underlying scientific theory that is valid, technique-applying theory must be valid; techniques must have been properly applied on occasion in question. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Frye.

 

          Ex parte Mowbray 943 S.W.2d 461 Tex. Cr. App. (1996)

 

The Court of Criminal Appeals of the state of Texas among other rulings, held that the state knows failure to disclose blood splatter expert’s report supporting defense theory that deceased committed suicide warranted new trial. In habeas hearings, judge determines credibility of witnesses and if habeas judge's findings of fact are supported by record, they should be accepted by Court of Criminal Appeals.  The blood spatter experts inspected the physical evidence to determine the injuries suffered and their location with respect to the other physical evidence.  The nightgown was examined for “high velocity impact blood staining” which commonly occurs within a short distance from a contact gunshot wound, high velocity impact bloodstains were found on the nightgown that were invisible to the naked eye.  It was concluded that the cause of death in the instant case was probably homicide, although a second expert testified that the physical evidence led him to conclude the deceased could have died in the manner in which applicant testified, i.e., suicide.  The state knowingly used false testimony, the Judge entered new findings of fact and conclusions of law finding the states violation of applicant’s due process right to a fair trial by suppressing evidence favorable to applicant. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was some negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

 

 

Virginia


Smith v. Commonwealth, 265 Va. 250, 576 S.E. 2d 465 (2003)


The Supreme Court of Virginia among other rulings, held blood spatter analysis was a reliable science, and sufficient evidentiary foundation was laid for admission of opinion testimony regarding blood spatter analysis. Blood spatter analysis is a reliable science than can form a basis for admissible proof upon an appropriate foundation; to the extent that ability to test a method of analysis is relevant in assessing whether expert opinion based on that discipline is admissible, many of specific physical elements of blood spatter analysis are capable of being tested using the laws of physics and chemistry, and by employing principles of gravity, inertia, and viscosity. Commonwealth produced an adequate factual foundation for introduction of expert testimony on blood spatter evidence, which contradicted defendant’s testimony in support of his self-defense theory in murder prosecution; victim’s blood had been identified by DNA testing within same area on each leg of her pants, allowing jury to reasonably conclude that other spots were also victim’s blood, and there was sufficient basis to allow expert to opine on which would most likely caused blood spatter on pants. Determining whether an adequate foundation has been laid for the admission of an expert opinion is an exercise of the trial court’s discretion, to be made in light of all the testimony produced. At trial, the bloodstain patter analysis testified about the characteristics of the shapes and patterns of bloodstains depending on the source of the blood and other factors. The expert explained that when a bullet enters the body and blood leaves the body through the entry wound, the type of bloodstain is known as “impact spatter.” The blood under these conditions, following “the path of least resistance,” exists the entry wound in a conical patter, and eventually falls to the ground, the greater the force of the impact, the smaller the droplets of blood that are expelled from the wound. The expert testified that when these droplets strike a surface at a perpendicular angle, the resulting bloodstain is circular. If the resulting bloodstain is elliptical in shape, it may be concluded that the blood droplet struck the surface at an angle. Tiller assumed that the 18 blood spots found on the leg of Chandlers’ pants were her blood. All but two of the blood spots on the pants were circular in shape, which is consistent with the blood striking the pants at a perpendicular angle. Furthermore, the expert found almost no impact spatter blood on the pants below the knees, on the back of the pants, or on Chandler’s shirt. Based on these facts, the expert concluded that Chandler was not standing at the time she was shot. The expert also testified that, most commonly, the source of impact spatter is a head wound because of the great amount of blood in the head and because the head is not generally covered with clothing which could deflect or block the direct travel of the blood. Therefore, in the expert’s opinion, the wound to Chandler’s mouth was the most likely source of the spots of blood found on Chandler’s pants. The expert testified that he could not rule out Chandler’s hand as a source of the blood spatter on the pants, but that, in his opinion, her hand was not a likely source. Chandler’s hand showed a bullet entry wound on the back and the exit wound made by that bullet was on her right palm. Exit wounds, according to the expert, cause more blood spatter than entry wounds. If the hand wound had been the source of the blood on Chandler’s pants, the expert testified that he would have also expected to see blood spatter below the knees of her pants and above the waistline on her shirt. There was no such blood.

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.

     

Compton v. Commonwealth, 219 Va.  716,250 S.E.2d 749 (1979)

 

The Supreme Court of the state of Virginia among other rulings, held that a proper foundation was laid for the admission of a police crime lab supervisor’s testimony concerning physical conditions at the scene of the shooting. Expert opinion and testimony are admissible where the jury, or the court trying a case without a jury, is confronted with issues which require scientific or specialized knowledge or experience in order to be properly understood and which cannot be determined intelligently merely from deductions made and inferences drawn on the basis of ordinary knowledge, common sense, and practical experience gained in the ordinary affairs of life.  The defense theory that a victim had caused gun to discharge by stumbling against table and knocking table against gun made it important for the Commonwealth to explain the absence of powder burns around the wound, the absence of pellets in the face or body of the victim, the presence of powder burns around a hole in the ceiling, the spatter pattern, the volume of blood on the front of the refrigerator and the lesser amount of blood near the top of or above the refrigerator, expert testimony tending to explain such matters, all of which were beyond the scope or knowledge of the average juror but within the peculiar knowledge, science and skill of the expert witnesses, was admissible, and proper foundation was laid for admission of police officer’s testimony as to physical conditions at the scene of the alleged homicide.  It was for the jury to determine what weight to accord police officer’s reconstruction of physical conditions at scene of fatal shooting. 

 

Upon shepardizing, there was no negative treatment of the above captioned case and was reviewed under Daubert.