Raber trial to start with hearing over expert testimony
September 26, 2019
The trial of Lesley Raber for aggravated homicide by vehicle will be preceded by a Daubert hearing before District Judge Thomas Rumpke. The hearing will determine whether or not the testimony of an expert witness is valid.
The hearing will consider a motion made by the State to dismiss the testimony of an expert hired by the defendant to review the crash scene and vehicles and provide a report based on his experience in crash scene investigations and reconstruction.
According to the state’s motion, “a report was never provided by the defendant to the State” regarding these findings. This violates the Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure, according to the prosecution, which demand that the defendant permit the State to copy any results and reports that will be introduced as evidence at the trial or were prepared by a witness the defendant intends to call to the stand.
Deputy County Attorney Lynda Black, prosecuting attorney on behalf of the State, claims in her motion that demands for said reports were made on September 10, 2018 and June 13, 2019. “The defendant has not met the discovery disclosure requirements,” she wrote.
In a response to the motion, the defense claims that the expert will not be called to testify and, as such, is a “non-testifying, consultant expert” to which that rule of procedure does not apply. The response states that the expert’s “thoughts, impressions and statements are privileged under the attorney work-product privilege”.
“While discovery with respect to testifying experts is essential to allow opposing counsels to adequately prepare for cross-examination, and to eliminate surprise at trial, there is no need for a comparable exchange of information regarding non-witness experts who act as consultants and advisors to counsel regarding the course litigation should take,” states the response.
In an addendum to the pre-trial memorandum, Black informed the court that she may call the witness in question to testify regarding his findings.
Raber pled not guilty in November to felony charges of aggravated homicide by vehicle following an incident last August in which she allegedly pulled out onto U.S. 212 near milepost 19 and collided with a trike motorcycle. The trial is now scheduled to begin on October 14.
The Daubert hearing is currently scheduled for October 11, to be followed by the trial itself on October 14.