United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
VÁZQUEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on the government's Motion
to Preclude Expert Testimony of Dr. Mark Chambers [Doc. 70].
In the Motion, the government moves the Court to preclude the
proffered testimony of proposed expert witness for Mr.
Perrault, Dr. Mark J. Chambers. Doc. 70 at 1. The Court held
a Daubert hearing on March 14, 2019 to determine the
admissibility of Dr. Chambers' testimony. Having
considered the Motion, relevant law, expert witness
testimony, and being otherwise fully informed, the Court
finds that the government's Motion is not well-taken and
will be DENIED.
February 8, 2019, Mr. Perrault filed a Notice of Intent to
Offer Expert Testimony of an expert in clinical and forensic
psychology, Dr. Mark J. Chambers [Doc. 67]. Dr. Chambers
received his B.A. and M.A. at Stanford University, followed
by a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern
University. Doc. 67-1 at 1. Since 1999, he has been in
private practice, working with both children and adults. In
addition to his clinical experience which dates back to 1986,
he has taught at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and at
the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. He has also served
as Director of Legal Psychology Consulting, Clinical
Supervisor at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, and
a Research Associate at the Leo Burnett Company.
the information contained in Dr. Chambers' curriculum
vitae, Mr. Perrault asserts that Dr. Chambers is
qualified to provide expert testimony in two main areas.
First, Mr. Perrault will offer testimony regarding several
areas relating to the fundamental tenets of human memory and
the factors that influence the reliability of memory. Doc. 67
at 1. During the Daubert hearing, Mr. Perrault
advised the Court that with respect to this topic, he is only
seeking to admit testimony regarding the passage of time,
interference from external sources including therapy and
media reports, and internal motivations and rewards. He will
no longer seek to admit expert testimony regarding personal
biases and prejudices, internal self-schemas, or types of
memory inconsistencies that are not in line with expected
memory errors. The second main area of proffered evidence
concerns the motives and circumstances typically associated
with false sexual abuse allegations, including deflection and
personal gain. Id. at 2. Mr. Perrault further
asserts that Dr. Chambers reserves the right to modify his
opinions and conclusions based upon new facts, as well as the
right to elicit testimony regarding other matters based on
testimony provided by the government's expert or other
witnesses, including Mr. Perrault. Id.
Motion, the government requests that the Court preclude the
proffered testimony of Dr. Chambers pursuant to Rule 702 of
the Federal Rules of Evidence and Daubert v. Merrill Dow
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), as well as
other testimony from Dr. Chambers on the ultimate issue of
the case pursuant to Rule 704 of the Federal Rules of
Evidence. Doc. 70 at 1. The government argued that Mr.
Perrault has not satisfied the requirements under Rule 702 to
establish that Dr. Chambers is qualified as an expert on the
subject matter of the proffered testimony. Id. at 2.
government also argues that portions of Dr. Chambers
proffered testimony may be impermissible pursuant to Rule 702
if it is offered to challenge the veracity of John Doe, as
witness credibility is not an appropriate subject for expert
testimony. Id. at 3.
the United States argues that, pursuant to Rule 704, Dr.
Chambers should not be permitted to offer opinion testimony
on the ultimate issue of the case. Id. Based on
these arguments, the United States moves the Court to
preclude the testimony of Mr. Perrault's proposed expert
witness, Dr. Chambers. Id. at 4.
702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governs testimony by
expert witnesses. It permits an expert who is qualified by
knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to
testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and