This month the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected the argument that a judge does not have the discretion to hold a pretrial hearing on the reliability of scientific evidence. Since January 1, 2012 when Arizona adopted the Federal Daubert standard for safeguarding against junk science, several prosecutorial agencies have tried to persuade trial courts that things were “business as usual” despite the new rules of evidence.
However, the February 5, 2013 ruling from Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals in Arizona State Hospital v. Klein, simply affirms the obvious: the trial court is a gatekeeper of evidence. The jury is only supposed to see evidence that was the product of actual science. This ruling is likely just the first of several forthcoming decisions that will define how Arizona will apply the Daubert standard for reliability of scientific evidence.
To read the case click here