Miles v. State, No. 96-0323

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtSTEVENSON; GROSS; FARMER; FARMER
Citation694 So.2d 151
Parties22 Fla. L. Weekly D1382 Michael K. MILES, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date04 June 1997
Docket NumberNo. 96-0323

Page 151

694 So.2d 151
22 Fla. L. Weekly D1382
Michael K. MILES, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
No. 96-0323.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
Fourth District.
June 4, 1997.

Richard L. Jorandby, Public Defender, and Tatjana Ostapoff, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Joseph A. Tringali, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

STEVENSON, Judge.

Appellant, Michael Miles, raises numerous challenges to his conviction for burglary of a dwelling. We find merit in his challenge to the statistical DNA evidence admitted at trial since the trial court did not make the necessary findings that the statistical methodology was generally accepted, or that the DNA expert was qualified to present the statistical results.

At trial, the State presented Mr. Earl Ritzline as an expert in forensic serology. Mr. Ritzline's testimony concerned DNA testing that he conducted on saliva taken from a cigarette butt found in the burglarized trailer. Mr. Ritzline testified that the extracted DNA matched appellant's, and that the

probability of such a match was one in 796. Among appellant's trial-level challenges to the DNA evidence was a claim that Mr. Ritzline was not adequately qualified to render an opinion on the DNA evidence. Appellant also objected to the general acceptance of the employed DNA testing methodology, and challenged the validity of Mr. Ritzline's statistical conclusion.

In a series of recent cases which were issued after the date of this trial, but during its pendency on appeal, the Florida Supreme Court revisited procedures for admitting DNA evidence at trial and pronounced several changes in the law which impact this case. In Brim v. State, 22 Fla. L. Weekly S45, S45, --- So.2d ----, ---- (Fla. Jan. 16, 1997), the court wrote to "clarify and emphasize that the DNA testing process consists of two distinct steps." Id. at S45, at ----. The first step, the "DNA testing process," is founded upon principles of molecular biology and chemistry. Id. The second step, which is implicated in the instant case, is the statistical step. It relies upon principles of statistics and population genetics; it is what gives "significance to a match." Id. The court, in Brim, held that the statistical analysis in a DNA comparison is independently subject to a Frye inquiry as a prerequisite to admissibility. See Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.Cir.1923)(holding that the scientific basis for an expert opinion must, as a prerequisite to admissibility, be shown to be generally accepted in the relevant scientific community).

In this case, the trial court did not determine that the statistical methodology employed by Mr. Ritzline was generally accepted. Nor does the record clearly reveal just what statistical technique was applied. While Mr. Ritzline briefly described how the statistical data was procured, 1 this limited explanation, absent some speculation, does not identify the statistical methodology, nor does it address its general acceptance. Because the supreme court had not yet clarified that DNA testing involves two distinct steps, rather than just one, we find that appellant's objection to the general acceptance of the DNA test conducted in this case and his subsequent challenges at trial to the validity of the statistical conclusions were sufficient to preserve this issue for our review.

We are also unable to discern from the record whether Mr. Ritzline was properly qualified to report population frequency statistics. In Murray v. State, 692 So.2d 157, 162-64 (Fla.1997), the supreme court provided some guidance concerning the necessary

Page 153

credentials of the expert reporting the DNA statistical and population genetics analysis, noting that it is...

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7 practice notes
  • Perdomo v. State, No. 3D00-899.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 9 Octubre 2002
    ...knowledge of the database 829 So.2d 284 sufficient to show that he is a qualified expert. See Hudson, 820 So.2d at 1072-74; Miles, 694 So.2d at 151. Cf. Butler, (expert's training involved "revalidations" of database); Darling, (expert demonstrated knowledge and experience regardi......
  • Cruz v. State, Case No. 2D17-4284
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Diciembre 2018
    ...and experience in such analysis or the database, the methodology used, or that the methodology was generally accepted); Miles v. State, 694 So.2d 151, 152-53 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997) (holding that statistical DNA evidence was not properly admitted when the trial court did not determine that the ......
  • Bevil v. State, No. 1D02-1495.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Junio 2004
    ...a limited evidentiary hearing, citing Hudson v. State, 820 So.2d 1070 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002). We disagree. Hudson relied on Miles v. State, 694 So.2d 151 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997), which, in turn, relied on Brim v. State, 695 So.2d 268 (Fla.1997). The distinguishing characteristic between those thre......
  • Allen v. State , No. 4D09–2618.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 8 Junio 2011
    ...829 So.2d 280, 284 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002); [62 So.3d 1202] Hudson v. State, 820 So.2d 1070, 1072–74 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002); Miles v. State, 694 So.2d 151, 153 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997). Ms. Whitten, the state's expert witness here, never testified (either during the voir dire examination or during her d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Perdomo v. State, No. 3D00-899.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 9 Octubre 2002
    ...knowledge of the database 829 So.2d 284 sufficient to show that he is a qualified expert. See Hudson, 820 So.2d at 1072-74; Miles, 694 So.2d at 151. Cf. Butler, (expert's training involved "revalidations" of database); Darling, (expert demonstrated knowledge and experience regardi......
  • Cruz v. State, Case No. 2D17-4284
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Diciembre 2018
    ...and experience in such analysis or the database, the methodology used, or that the methodology was generally accepted); Miles v. State, 694 So.2d 151, 152-53 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997) (holding that statistical DNA evidence was not properly admitted when the trial court did not determine that the ......
  • Bevil v. State, No. 1D02-1495.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Junio 2004
    ...a limited evidentiary hearing, citing Hudson v. State, 820 So.2d 1070 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002). We disagree. Hudson relied on Miles v. State, 694 So.2d 151 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997), which, in turn, relied on Brim v. State, 695 So.2d 268 (Fla.1997). The distinguishing characteristic between those thre......
  • Allen v. State , No. 4D09–2618.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 8 Junio 2011
    ...829 So.2d 280, 284 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002); [62 So.3d 1202] Hudson v. State, 820 So.2d 1070, 1072–74 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002); Miles v. State, 694 So.2d 151, 153 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997). Ms. Whitten, the state's expert witness here, never testified (either during the voir dire examination or during her d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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