A lot of times we get caught up in the need for an "expert" witness. If you have an expert witness the person is testifying under Mil. R. Evid. 702. True, the expert can "get-in" more information than other witnesses, but do you always need an expert. Federal Evidence blog reminds us that lay witnesses can often be sufficient testifying under Mil. R. Evid. 701. This is an excellent blog for all kinds of evidentiary issues and background information. Here is their note about one such recent case.
The First Circuit explains the circumstances in which an undercover agent may give lay testimony “as to the meaning of code words or phrases” concerning drug quantities based on the agent's “undercover drug buys”; noting as one factor whether the witness's lay testimony “corresponds” to undisputed facts, in United States v. Santiago, __ F.3d __ (1st Cir. March 19, 2009) (Nos. 07-1575, 07-1718, 07-1728, 07-2017).