Monday, February 25, 2008

United States v. Hall

In United States v. Hall, __ M.J. ___, No. 07-0384/MC (C.A.A.F. Feb. 25, 2008), available here, CAAF accepts the government's concession that the military judge erred by admitting as layperson opinion an NCIS agent's testimony that she believed that burns on the infant victim were a "textbook case of an immersion burn with clear lines of demarcation and a lack of splash marks . . . indicative of non-accidental trauma." But CAAF also agrees with the government that the error was harmless. Hall doesn't appear to reach beyond the narrow fact pattern from which is arose. Judge Baker for a unanimous court.


Anonymous said...

Agree that this was a narrow decision. Any thoughts on why CAAF took this case? Was there some deficiency in NMCCA's analysis of the four factors?

Since NMCCA's decision was also right, I guess CAAF decided not to throw out the baby with the bath-water.

Anonymous said...

The NMCCA opinion did not utilize the four factor test for prejudice.

CAAF had not previously addressed MRE 701(c), which is why I assumed they granted on this case: to promulgate the standard which would be used in military courts.

However, their opinion never directly addresses the standard for 701(c)(and neither did the NMCCA opinion). Curious...