Chad A. Hester


This Note will argue that while forensic locksmiths may be qualified as experts under Rule 702, they should not necessarily be qualified to testify as to which key started a vehicle last. Part I of this note will discuss the basic history and case law which has established the requirements necessary to qualify an expert to testify under the Rule 702. In addition, Part I will discuss the recently enacted amendments to Rule 702 and how the amended Rule 702 has expanded the admissibility of expert witnesses. Part II of this note will discuss the generally accepted procedures of forensic locksmiths, including their qualifications under Rule 702. This discussion will include a brief history of the development of forensic locksmith analysis procedures. Part III will discuss the "Key Pathway Analysis" as an example of expert testimony that may not be admissible under Rule 702. The "Key Pathway Analysis" is a variation of traditionally recognized forensic locksmith procedures that has been repeatedly challenged in court for not following the guidelines established under Rule 702. Finally, Part IV will analyze problems that exist between the admissibility of expert testimony as to which key last started the vehicle and the potential for bad faith suits in wrongfully denying insurance claims.

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