In about face, Florida Supreme Court abandons Frye for Daubert

Florida has a history of wavering when it comes to the standard for admissibility of expert testimony. Not too long ago, the state Supreme Court frustrated legislative efforts to move the state from the Frye to the Daubert standard only to recently announce that, “effective immediately upon the release of this opinion,” the state would adhere to the Daubert standard when assessing the admissibility of expert testimony. 

In 2013, the Florida legislature made a concerted effort to incorporate the Daubert standard into the state’s rules of evidence by amending the Florida code, section 90.702 dealing with expert testimony state’s rules of evidence (the Daubert amendments). 

However, in October 2018, the state’s Supreme Court decided the legislature had overstepped its authority. The high court declared the amendment unconstitutional and reinstated the Frye standard.

In another twist, in its May 23, 2019, per curiam opinion, In re Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, the Supreme Court decided to “recede from the Court’s prior decision not to adopt the Legislature’s Daubert amendments to the Evidence Code and to retain the Frye standard.” Daubert, the high court added, is “the standard for expert testimony found in Federal Rule of Evidence 702.” 

For more detail regarding the Florida Supreme Court’s recent change of position on this issue, click here.