US v. Rutland Decision

Detwiler, a forensic document specialist, testified that Nichols’ signatures on checks and documents related to two loans against his life insurance policies were fraudulent. “They’re definitively not genuine,” Detwiler told the court...

US v. Rutland Decision

Defendant Christopher H. Rutland appeals from his judgment of sentence, arguing that it was unfairly prejudicial to allow the government’s exceptionally-qualified handwriting expert to testify to the ultimate issue of authorship of key documents. The Advisory Committee Note to Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states, unfair prejudice “means an undue tendency to suggest decision on an improper basis, commonly, though not necessarily, an emotional one.” It is not unfairly prejudicial to allow an expert to testify to the ultimate issue. Jurors may properly take an expert’s impressive experience and credentials into account when determining the weight of the expert’s testimony. Therefore, we will affirm the decision of the district court.

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