THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SAYS NO TO DAUBERT AND YES TO FRYE
On February 16, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court declined to adopt, to the extent they are procedural, the changes made by the Florida Legislature in 2013 to sections 90.702 and 90.703 of the Florida Evidence Code. More specifically, in 2013, the Florida Legislature amended sections 90.702 and 90.703, Florida Statutes, to change the standard of admissibility for scientific evidence from the Frye standard to the Daubert standard. See ch. 2013-107, §§1 – 2, Laws of Fla. (the “Daubert Amendment”). On February 16, 2017, in a 4 – 3 split decision, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion in which it expressly declined “to adopt the Daubert Amendment to the extent that it is procedural, due to the constitutional concerns raised, which must be left for a proper case or controversy.” In re Amendments to Florida Evidence Code, ___ So.3d ___, ___ (Fla. 2017). Now, we must wait for a proper case or controversy, meaning that, in subsequent cases involving expert testimony, the Florida courts will need to decide whether the Daubert Amendment is procedural or substantive. Ultimately, a case may work its way through the appellate process to the Florida Supreme Court, which will then make a determination on the merits of this issue. QUESTION: In the meantime, will there be any changes to the make-up of the Florida Supreme Court that may change the view of the Florida Supreme Court considering that this was a 4 – 3 split decision.