United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING GOVERNMENT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE
OPINION TESTIMONY, DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE
OPINION TESTIMONY, GRANTING MOTION IN LIMINE, AND OVERRULING
DEFENDANT'S OBJECTION TO VIDEO EVIDENCE
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
Travis Lee Kahgegab is charged with one count of domestic
assault by a habitual offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 117. On February 24, 2017, a pretrial conference was
held. At the conference, Kahgebab's counsel requested
that a second pretrial conference be held on February 27,
2017, thus providing time for her to discuss with Kahgebab
whether he intended to proceed to trial. On February 27,
2017, the second pretrial conference was held on the record.
Kahgebab indicated at the conference that he intended to
proceed to trial. Kahgegab's counsel further explained
that the defense anticipated retaining an opinion witness.
February 2, 2017, the Government filed a notice of intent to
have an opinion witness testify. ECF No. 8. On March 16,
2017, the Government filed a motion to exclude Kahgegab's
proposed opinion witness, Dr. Norman Stanley Miller. ECF No.
20. Kahgegab likewise seeks to preclude the Government's
proposed opinion witness, Holly Rosen. ECF No. 22. Several
days later, Kahgegab filed a motion to preclude the
Government from introducing prior bad acts of Kahgegab under
Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). Kahgegab has also objected
to the Government's notice of intent to offer video
recordings of the alleged victim's interviews with
police, arguing that they are inadmissible hearsay. For the
reasons stated below, the Government's motion to exclude
opinion witness testimony will be granted, Kahgegab's
motion to exclude opinion witness testimony will be denied,
Kahgegab's motion to exclude evidence of prior past acts
will be granted, and Kahgegab's objection that the video
recordings are hearsay will be overruled.
Government seeks to preclude Dr. Norman Stanley Miller from
testifying as an opinion witness for Kahgegab. According to
Kahgegab's notice of opinion witness, ECF No. 18, Dr.
Miller is “an expert witness in the area of alcoholism
and substance abuse and memory and recollection of persons as
well as their behavior while under influence of
either.” Id. at 1. Kahgegab asserts that Dr.
Miller “will testify . . . about effects alcohol and
other substances have on memory, including but not limited to
impaired memory, effects on hippocampus, loss of memory
(minimal recollection, recantation, no memory of certain
events) and the reasons for these behaviors.”
Id. Kahgegab has not provided any information about
Dr. Miller, his training and experience, or how his testimony
may be of service to the jury. Kahgegab has not provided any
other details about the testimony Dr. Miller intends to offer
nor has he provided a summary of any findings or conclusions
Dr. Miller may have recorded. Likewise, Kahgegab has not
provided the scientific basis for his testimony.
admissibility of expert witness testimony is governed by
Federal Rule of Evidence 702. That rule states that:
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 to 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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
702's ‘helpfulness' standard requires a valid
scientific connection to the pertinent inquiry as a
precondition to admissibility.” Daubert v. Merrell
Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 592-93 (1993). Of
course, “‘[e]xpert testimony which does not
relate to any issue in the case is not relevant and, ergo,
non-helpful.'” Id. at 591 (quoting 3
Weinstein & Berger ¶ 702 p. 702- 18). “A
witness, lay or expert, may not form conclusions for a jury
that they are competent to reach on their own.”
United States v. Freeman, 730 F.3d 590, 597 (6th
Cir. 2013). The proponent of the testimony has the burden of
establishing its admissibility by a preponderance of proof.
Nelson v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., 243 F.3d 244,
251 (6th Cir. 2001).
Kahgegab has not carried his burden of demonstrating that Dr.
Miller's testimony will be helpful to the jury. The
alleged victim gave two interviews to police, but now claims
to have no memory of the incident. Kahgegab has asserted that
the alleged victim was intoxicated during at least one of the
interviews she gave to police. In unrelated briefing,
Kahgegab indicates ...