Brief Fact Summary. The Appellants, Alan Scop, Raphael Bloom (“Mr. Bloom”), Herbert Stone (“Mr. Stone”), and Jack Ringer (the “Appellants”), were involved in the offering and trading of stock of an automobile dealership. They were indicted for mail fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy. Mr. Bloom and Mr. Stone were also charged with perjury before a grand jury.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Federal Rules of Evidence (“F.R.E.”) do not allow experts to offer opinions consisting of legal conclusions.
To sustain a conspiracy charge, the government need only prove the existence of a conspiracy and a participatory link to the defendant.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Was it improper to allow the expert to give his opinion regarding legal conclusions based on his determination of the credibility of the other witnesses?
Held. Circuit Judge Winter issued the opinion for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and reversed the convictions on all counts, except the perjury, because the expert’s opinions were inadmissible.
Concurrence. Circuit Judge Pierce concurred to point out that he believed an expert’s reliance on witness testimony whose credibility is in question, may be raised on cross examination, and may not affect the admission of the opinion itself.
Discussion. The opinions offered by the expert went beyond his expertise, and instead relied on his beliefs regarding the credibility of certain witnesses, and as such could very likely prejudice a jury.