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Michael Hernandez, Jr. v. State of Florida, Case Nos. SC13-718, SC13-2330 (Florida Supreme Court)

In Hernandez, the Florida Supreme Court issued a lengthy opinion in a criminal case addressing several issues, which included a short commentary on the new Daubert standard. The Florida Supreme Court noted that Section 90.702, Florida Statutes, was amended in 2013 to provide that testimony by an expert who is qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education may testify in the form of opinion if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data; (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case. The court commented that some has said the amendment was intended to “tighten the rules for admissibility of any expert opinion.” The court stated, however, that “the Supreme Court in Daubert actually criticized Frye and its ‘exclusive test’ imposing a ‘rigid general acceptance requirement’ as being at odds with the liberal thrust of the Federal Rules and their ‘general approach of relaxing the traditional barriers to opinion testimony.’” The Florida Supreme Court added that “general acceptance in the relevant scientific community remains one factor among several even when the Daubert test is the applicable test.”

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