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State v. Rambo

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-31-2012
Case #: A143380
Brewer, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A143380.pdf

Evidence: Nonscientific expert opinion evidence based on independently admissible scientific evidence is admissible, as long as the expert is established as qualified through experience and training and does not use scientific language or suggest that his conclusion was based on a scientific method or data collection.

Officer Johnson, a drug recognition evaluation expert (DRE), administered a 12-step DRE protocol to determine whether defendant was driving under the influence of a controlled substance when she was pulled over for swerving. Johnson was unable to complete one step because Defendant refused to submit a urine sample. A jury convicted Defendant for DUII, reckless driving, and failure to appear on a criminal citation. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in admitting Johnson’s testimony about the DRE protocol because an incomplete DRE protocol did not constitute scientific evidence. The Court of Appeals, however, agreed with the trial court’s reasoning that Johnson was qualified to recognized symptoms of drug impairment based on his considerable training and experience and that the only scientific tests that Johnson relied on were independently admissible. Also, Johnson did not suggest that he reached his conclusions through the application of science. Therefore, Johnson’s testimony was properly admitted as nonscientific expert opinion evidence. Affirmed.