Handwriting Expert Witness Evidence & Frye Hearing Part 1

After being convicted of premeditated first degree murder, Jeremy Hull took his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. It’s an automatic appeal and Hull did not waive his right to appeal. Hull, 26, was convicted in 2008 of killing Lewis Wilczek of Little Falls in April 2007, then dismembering, burning and burying Wilczek’s body outside of Foreston. After killing Wilczek, he stole the 21-year-old’s identity. The reason the defense is appealing the case has to do primarily with their belief that the Mille Lacs County District Court should have granted a Frye hearing in regards to expert witness testimony on fingerprinting and handwriting evidence.

A Frye hearing is used to determine whether scientific evidence (produced by an expert witness) is admissible in court. In the 1923 federal Court of Appeals case Frye v. United States, the court held that expert testimony is admissible when the technique or theory it is based on has gained “general acceptance” in the relevant scientific community. In a Frye hearing, the trial court determines whether or not given testimony is, in fact, generally accepted (a Frye hearing is typically called after prosecutors or defense lawyers move to exclude the testimony of an expert witness).

For more, see MilleLacsCountyTimes.com.