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United States v. Snyman

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division

November 30, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDRIES SNYMAN, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE

         Defendant Andries Snyman filed a notice of intent to call Dr. Ilan H. Meyer as an expert witness. (Dockets 58 & 61). The government opposes Dr. Meyer's proposed testimony. (Docket 68). The government argues defendant's expert notice fails to meet Rule 16(b)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Dr. Meyer does not satisfy the Daubert[1] requirements and the proposed testimony is inadmissible under Federal Rules of Evidence 401 and 403. Id. At the court's request, the parties submitted additional filings regarding the admissibility of Dr. Meyer's testimony. (Dockets 76, 77 & 78). The court finds Dr. Meyer's anticipated testimony is admissible.[2]

         A. Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

         Based on defendant's filings, he has met the requirements of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 16. (Docket 58, 61, 70, 76 & 78). These submissions sufficiently summarize Dr. Meyer's “opinions, the bases and reasons for the opinions, and [his] qualifications.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(b)(1)(C).

         B. Daubert

         The admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Fed.R.Evid. 702. Fed.R.Evid. 702 provides:

         A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit noted that the Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), “charged trial judges with acting as gatekeepers to exclude unreliable expert testimony.” Robinson v. Geico General Ins. Co., 447 F.3d 1096, 1100 (8th Cir. 2006).

         “The proponent of the expert testimony must prove its admissibility by a preponderance of the evidence.” Lauzon v. Senco Products, Inc., 270 F.3d 681, 686 (8th Cir. 2001) (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592). Moreover, the Eighth Circuit held that “doubts regarding ‘whether an expert's testimony will be useful should generally be resolved in favor of admissibility.' ” Clark v. Heidrick, 150 F.3d 912, 915 (8th Cir. 1998) (quoting Larabee v. MM & L Int'l Corp., 896 F.2d 112, 116 n.6 (8th Cir. 1990)). See also Sphere Drake Insurance PLC v. Trisko, 226 F.3d 951, 954 (8th Cir. 2000).

         These legal principles do not support excluding Dr. Meyer from testifying in this case. Defendant's filings sufficiently demonstrate Dr. Meyer's proposed testimony is admissible expert testimony. (Docket 58, 61, 70, 76 & 78). Dr. Meyer has an extensive educational background in his field of expertise, and he publishes scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on social science subjects within that field. At best, the government raises “doubts” about the testimony, Clark, 150 F.3d at 915, which are properly addressed through ...


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