The District of Columbia Court of Appeals today affirmed the conviction of Rashaun Gee, who was accused of breaking into a Southeast Washington home in 2008 and repeatedly stabbing and attempting to sexually assault one of the female residents.
The decision (PDF) is the latest from the city's highest court to limit the role that a 2009 congressionally mandated report on the forensic sciences plays in criminal proceedings and appeals. In Gee's case, his lawyer argued that the trial judge was wrong to prevent him from using sections of the report during cross-examination that questioned the reliability of fingerprint analysis.
The three-judge appellate panel disagreed, finding that the sections of the report at issue weren't a "learned treatise," a term referring to a text that is considered authoritative and can be used to question experts. The appeals court found that Gee's lawyer failed to present any evidence that the section on fingerprint analysis was a "reliable authority" and accepted by the scientific community.