United States District Court, D. Maryland
LIPTON HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case, the Court must determine whether a federal officer
properly removed to federal court criminal charges lodged
against him in a Maryland state court.
Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on May 18,
2018, the State of Maryland charged William V. Dent, a
civilian federal officer assigned to the United States Air
Force Office of Special Investigations ("AFOSI"),
with multiple crimes. The charges include assault in the
first and second degree of Saifuddeen Acosta on March 26,
2018; reckless endangerment; use of a firearm in the
commission of a crime of violence; and wearing a handgun upon
his person. ECF 1-2 ("Indictment"). Dent removed
the case to federal court on July 3, 2018, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1442. ECF 1. The State has moved to remand. ECF
evidentiary hearing has been scheduled concerning the motion
to remand, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1455(b). In
anticipation of the hearing, on March 25, 2019, defendant
filed a motion in limine to preclude the expert testimony of
Master Sergeant Matthew McLain. He is Special Agent,
Superintendent, Basic Training Division, United States Air
Force Special Investigations Academy. ECF 21 (the
"Motion"); ECF 24-1 at 6-7 ("Biography").
The State opposes the Motion. ECF 24. Defendant replied. ECF
State first notified defense counsel on December 3, 2018, of
its intent to offer McLain as an expert in AFOSI
"training, tactics, and authority." ECF 24-1 at 2.
The State also provided defense counsel with a copy of
McLain's curriculum vitae (id. at 6-7) and a
copy of the memorialization of his approval concerning
observations as to Acosta's video recording of the
incident. Id. at 3-5. Further, the State notified
defense counsel that it "anticipates that Special Agent
McLain's testimony will relate to those facts delineated
in his attached synopsis[.]" Id. at 2.
to the State, it designated McLain in response to notice from
the defense of its intention to call Retired Special Agent
Susan Howell to opine that, at the relevant time, Mr. Dent
was acting within his authority as an AFOSI officer. ECF 24
reasons that follow, I shall deny the Motion in part and
grant it in part.
Standard of Review
to Federal Rule of Evidence 104(a), the court is responsible
for determining "preliminary questions concerning the
qualification of a person to be a witness" and "the
admissibility of evidence," including the admissibility
of expert testimony under Federal Rule of Evidence 702. With
regard to expert testimony, it is well settled that
"[t]he party seeking admission of the expert testimony
bears the burden of establishing admissibility by a
preponderance of the evidence." Fireman's Fund
Ins. Co. v. Tecumseh Prods. Co., 161 F.Supp.2d 549, 553
(D. Md. 2011); see Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm,,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 590 (1993); Cody v. Ride-Away
Handicap Equipment Corp., 702 Fed.Appx. 120, 124-25 (4th
Cir. 2017); Cooper v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 259
F.3d 194, 199 (4th Cir. 2001); Maryland Casualty Co. v.
Therm-O-Disc, Inc., 137 F.3d 780, 783 (4th Cir. 1998);
Casey v. Geek Squad ® Subsidiary Best Buy Stores,
L.P., 823 F.Supp.2d 334, 340 (D. Md. 2011).
Evid. 702 provides that a properly qualified expert witness
may testify regarding technical, scientific, or other
specialized knowledge in a given field if the testimony would
assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or to
determine a fact in issue. The rule "was intended to
liberalize the introduction of relevant expert
evidence." Westberry v. Gislaved Gummi
AB, 178 F.3d 257, 261 (4th Cir. 1999).
702, which governs expert testimony, provides:
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education may testify in the form of
an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence ...