Expert Testimony in North Carolina Criminal Trials in a Post-Howerton World

June 16, 2012

For the past several years, controversy existed in North Carolina as to the standard for determining the admission of expert testimony. The North Carolina Supreme Court recently put this controversy to rest in Howerton v. Arai Helmet, Ltd. In Howerton, the court flatly rejected the gatekeeping test adopted by the United States Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Instead, the court reiterated its previous three part test: “(1) Is the expert’s proffered method of proof sufficiently reliable as an area for expert testimony? (2) Is the witness testifying at trial qualified as an expert in that area of testimony? (3) Is the expert’s testimony relevant?”