Plaintiff sued defendant for violations of the plaintiff’s right to a fair trial under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendant hired a Law Enforcement Expert Witness, which was challenged by the plaintiff. The court allowed the testimony under Daubert.
Facts: This case (Murphy v. City of Tulsa, The et al – United States District Court – Northern District of Oklahoma – January 18th, 2018) involves a claim for violations of the plaintiff’s right to a fair trial under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition, the plaintiff claims that there are deficiencies in the Tulsa Police Department’s (TPD) training, supervision, and policies and procedures. The plaintiff was incarcerated for twenty years for the murder of her infant son, a conviction of which was vacated. The defendant has hired Law Enforcement Expert Witness John J. Ryan to provide testimony regarding the appropriateness of the defendant’s investigation of the murder of plaintiff’s son, the policies of TPD, procedures and practices as well as training and supervision. The plaintiff has filed Daubert motions to exclude the expert witness testimony of Mr. Ryan.
Discussion: The plaintiff does not challenge Mr. Ryan’s qualifications to provide expert witness testimony in the area of law enforcement, and the court opines that, based on the curriculum vitae and his report, Mr. Ryan is qualified to provide testimony regarding TPD’s training, policies, and procedures.
The plaintiff does argue that Mr. Ryan’s testimony will not help the jury understand whether TPD trained its officers on constitutional limitations and requirements, did not apply principles and methods to the facts of the case, and did not base his opinions on reliable principles and methods.
The plaintiff’s allege that expert testimony is not needed to aid the jury in determining whether TPD trained its officers on the Constitutional limits of interrogations. The court disagrees, stating that Mr. Ryan is providing his opinion as to whether TPD’s requirements for training were consistent with generally accepted practice. and will offer testimony about whether TPD’s policies and procedures were deficient. The court continues by opining that Mr. Ryan’s opinions about training during the relevant time frame will assist the jury in their evaluation of the adequacy of the training and whether said training complied with national standards.
In addition, the plaintiff argues that Mr. Ryan did not reliably apply principles and methods to the facts of the case and did not base his opinions on reliable principles and methods. The plaintiff alleges that Mr. Ryan improperly did not consider certain evidence, but transcripts of his testimony dispute this argument. In addition, any arguments like this go to the weight of the evidence and not their admissibility.
Last, the court is not persuaded that Mr. Ryan’s testimony is based on insufficient facts.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of John J. Ryan is denied.