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United States v. North

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

November 17, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JEFF NORTH, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Jeff North's (“Defendant”) Motion to File Out of Time (“Motion to File”) [94] and Motion to Preclude GunShot Residue Analysis Opinion Evidence (the “Daubert Motion”) [94.1].

         I. BACKGROUND

         On May 26, 2016, a grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a three-count indictment [13] charging Defendant with Carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2119(1) (Count 1); Discharging a Firearm During a Federal Crime of Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(i), (ii), and (iii) (Count 2); and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 9224(e) (Count 3). The Indictment alleges that, on or about March 23, 2015, Defendant shot Johnny Dansby and stole his vehicle.

         On March 23, 2015, swabs from Defendant's hands were submitted to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences for a gunshot residue (“GSR”) analysis. The sealed samples were later analyzed by Microanalyst Alexander Covin. Mr. Covin completed an official report detailing the method of analysis, results, and conclusions. ([97.1]). Mr. Covin's primary trainer and Manager and Acting Director of the Trace Evidence Section, Michael McCarriagher, independently reviewed the evidence, report, and all associated documentation. (Id.).

         The GSR report was provided to Defendant at his arraignment hearing on September 9, 2016. The report states that the samples taken from Defendant's hands were tested for the presence of particles characteristic of GSR. It details the test method used (“scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy”) and summarizes the results (the examination “revealed three particles characteristic of GSR”). It also summarized the analysts' opinion that the examination of the samples:

revealed the presence of particles characteristic of [GSR]. This supports the possibility that the individual discharged a firearm, was in close proximity to a firearm upon discharge, or came into contact with an item whose surface bears GSR.

([97.1]).

         On September 20, 2017, the Court ordered [69] that this case be placed on the Court's December 5, 2017 trial calendar. The Court further ordered that the parties file, by October 16, 2017, motions in limine and motions to exclude evidence or testimony.

         On October 20, 2017, the Government officially noticed Mr. McCarriagher and Mr. Covin as experts who would testify in the area of gunshot residue and provided copies of their CVs. The Government also provided backup notes, data, and other information. (See [97.4]).

         On November 13, 2017, Defendant filed his Motion to File, [94] in which he moved for leave to file the Daubert Motion beyond the October 16, 2017, deadline. The Defendant attached his Daubert Motion [94.1] to the Motion to File. In his Daubert Motion, Defendant argues that the Government's disclosures related to the GSR analysis fail to comply with Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. He also seeks discovery and a hearing regarding the admissibility of Mr. McCarriagher's[1] testimony under Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

         By docket entry on November 13, 2017, the Court ordered that the Government respond to the Motion to File by noon on November 16, 2017.

         On November 16, 2017, the Government responded to the ...


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