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Sociologists

Admissibility Rate: .000    (0/1)

G.M. Enters. v. Town of St. Joseph, 350 F.3d 631 (7th Cir. 2003) (see the briefs), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 812 (2004).  Town passes ordinance restricting nude dancing, relying on sixteen studies showing relationship between sexually oriented businesses and property values, crime statistics, public health risks, illegal sexual activities such as prostitution, and organized crime.  Nude dancing parlor challenges ordinance under First Amendment, arguing that town cannot demonstrate reasonable probability of causal relationship between nude dancing and deleterious secondary effects unless it presents evidence with sufficient rigor to qualify for admissibility under Daubert.  Trial court upholds constitutionality of ordinance and grants summary judgment to town.  Affirmed.  Under Supreme Court's First Amendment precedents, municipalities are not required to present empirical data to support their legislative assessment that sexually oriented businesses promote adverse secondary effects.  "A requirement of Daubert-quality evidence would impose an unreasonable burden on the legislative process."

United States v. Mamah, 332 F.3d 475 (7th Cir. 2003).  While in police custody, Ghanaian immigrant confesses to drug possession.  He later recants.  At trial, he calls anthropologist (Dr. Deborah Pellow) and sociologist (Dr. Richard Ofshe) to opine that Ghanaians are confession-prone, because Ghana is governed by oppressive military regime.  District court excludes testimony because: (1) neither expert is clinical psychologist qualified to assess defendant's susceptibility to interrogation techniques; (2) defendant has lived in United States for over fifteen years; and (3) defendant did not show similarity between tactics used by arresting officers and interrogation techniques in Ghana.  Jury convicts and defendant appeals.  Exclusions affirmed.  Testimony failed to satisfy Fed. R. Evid. 702.  Experts may have been qualified in their respective fields, and their research may have been methodologically sound, but they relied on insufficient facts or data to link their theories to facts of case, which involved non-coercive interrogation in America, not coercive interrogation in Ghana.

United States v. Verduzco, 373 F.3d 1022 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 992 (2004).  Criminal defendant admits smuggling drugs but says he did so under duress.  In support, defendant offers testimony from sociologist, who opines that defendant's reluctance to approach police for help may have stemmed from defendant's socialization in Mexico, where law enforcement authorities are often corrupt.  District court excludes testimony on three grounds: (1) as sanction for pretrial discovery violation; (2) because testimony's tendency to confuse jury would outweigh its probative value; and (3) as unhelpful to trier of fact, because defendant had worked and resided in United States for substantial period of time.  Jury convicts.  Exclusion affirmed.  Exclusion of testimony as discovery sanction was too drastic, but district court permissibly found that sociologist's culturally stereotyping testimony would be more prejudicial than probative.  Trial court was not required to conduct Daubert hearing, because it excluded testimony on sufficient alternative grounds.

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