Frye Rule

A ruling by a Federal Court of Appeals (United States v. Frye, 293 F 1013—DC Cir 1923) in a criminal case in which the defendant sought to present evidence that a crude, scientifically invalid and unaccepted test showed that he was telling the truth. That court said, ‘...abandonment of the general acceptance requirement could result in a free-for-all in which befuddled juries would be confounded by absurd and irrational pseudoscientific assertions’
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Before Daubert, the courts relied on a narrower interpretation of Rule 702, named the Frye rule. (2) The Frye rule qualifies expert witnesses based upon their knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education.
2003) ("[I]n applying the Frye rule, we have required and continue to require that the proponent of the evidence prove that the methodology an expert used is generally accepted by scientists in the relevant field as a method for arriving at the conclusion the expert will testify to at trial.
For a while, most courts adhered to "the Frye rule," which allowed expert or specialized evidence in court if it was "generally accepted" within the scientific community.
The "Frye rule," which held that scientific evidence could be admitted only if it had gained "general acceptance" in the particular field, marked the first substantial limitation on the admission of expert testimony.
From 1923 until 1993 many American courts relied on the Frye rule, whose effect was that if it could be shown that there was fundamental disagreement in the relevant scientific community about a proposition or inference, then that proposition or inference could not stand as evidence.
The Daubert court notes the "important differences between the quest for truth in the courtroom and the quest for truth in the laboratory." (Daubert, 2798) That tension between law and science is illustrated well in courts' grappling with the obvious purpose of the Frye rule to limit "junk science" by establishing a sound basis for expert legal testimony, and the purpose of science to encourage development of knowledge by experimentation.
While the district court imposed a general acceptance test under Rule 703 without mentioning Frye, the Ninth Circuit explicitly endorsed the Frye rule, stating, "Expert opinion based on a scientific technique 'is admissible if it is generally accepted as a reliable technique among the scientific community.'"(34) The best test of scientific certainty is the "science of publication, replication and verification, the science of consensus and peer review," the court stated.(35)
Similarly, those who support a reading of the Federal Rules of Evidence that discards the Frye rule have not done so because of the resultant encouragement to the educational function.
Prior to Daubert the courts relied upon a narrower interpretation of Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, also known as the Frye rule. The Frye rule qualifies an expert witness based upon their knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education.
1994) (noting that the Frye standard has been utilized before and after Daubert but expressing that "we do not address the effect of the Daubert decision on the use or application of the Frye rule in Minnesota").
Before the adoption of the Daubert test, the federal courts, as well as some state courts, subscribed to the Frye rule. The Frye rule, which is the court's interpretation of Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, controlled the admissibility of novel scientific testimony.(9) Frye was concerned with whether such testimony was generally accepted in the scientific community.(10) This was typically determined by looking at whether the proposed expert testimony had been published or subjected to peer review.(11) The Frye test, in effect, shifted the burden of analyzing the testimony from the judge and the jury to the experts in the field.
In the Daubert case, the Court resoundingly rejected the common law Frye rule on admitting scientific evidence and the view that judges should test the general acceptability of experts' opinions.