Saturday, October 27th, 2007

We Value Your Opinion

United States v. Tsekhanovich, No. 05-4809-cr (2d Cir. October 24, 2007) (Miner, Cabranes, Straub, CJJ) (per curiam)

Treading no new ground, the court reminds us that a lay person can give opinion testimony if it is both based on his first-hand perceptions and rationally derived from them.

Here, a cooperating witness in a fraud case was permitted to describe several conversations that he had with the defendant, and explain what he thought certain of the defendant’s comments meant. There was a solid foundation for the testimony – the witness had known the defendant for years – and the witness did not “speculate about the general knowledge or intent” of the defendant. Rather, his testimony was limited to discrete matters.

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