Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 2 to Cite::checkRefsNoReferences() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 2 to Cite::checkRefsNoReferences() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 2 to Cite::checkRefsNoReferences() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 2 to Cite::checkRefsNoReferences() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 2 to Cite::checkRefsNoReferences() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 2 to Cite::checkRefsNoReferences() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to CiteHooks::onResourceLoaderRegisterModules() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195

Warning: Parameter 1 to Cite::clearState() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c04/h02/mnt/181397/domains/mnbenchbook.org/html/includes/Hooks.php on line 195
ADMISSIBILITY OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL CASES - MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges
 Actions

ADMISSIBILITY OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL CASES

From MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges

Click on “TRIAL PROCEDURES & PRACTICES FOR JUDGES” above to return to main page


1. The Frye-Mack standard governs the admissibility of scientific evidence in Minnesota and requires that scientific evidence be generally accepted and considered reliable by the scientific community to be admissible.[1]
2. A Frye-Mack hearing is only necessary when the evidence at issue was obtained using a technique that is both scientific and novel.[2]
3. A Frye-Mack hearing may also be held once a technique is no longer considered novel, but in that instance, the focus of the inquiry shifts from the technique‘s general acceptability to the reliability of the results in the case at hand.[3]
4. The supreme court has emphasized the importance of conducting a Frye-Mack hearing regarding the acceptability and reliability of novel scientific evidence to avoid the risk of the judge being put in the role of scientist.[4]
5. To conduct a thorough Frye-Mack hearing, however, the district court necessarily has to permit expert testimony about the acceptability and reliability of the scientific technique at issue.[5]
6. Expert testimony (in general and when offered as part of a Frye-Mack hearing) generally is admissible if: (1) it assists the trier of fact; (2) it has a reasonable basis; (3) it is relevant; and (4) its probative value outweighs its potential for unfair prejudice.[6]
7. The decision to admit or exclude expert testimony is within the discretion of the district court.[7]
8. Admissibility determinations under Frye-Mack is two-pronged.[8]
1. Whether the scientific technique is generally accepted in the relevant scientific field [9]and
2. Whether the scientific technique itself is reliable and, in its administration in the particular instance, did it conform to the procedure necessary to ensure reliability.[10]
9. There are two important concepts in evaluating a scientific test, accuracy and reliability. Accuracy means does the test indicate that the test gives a true and correct measurement of the quantity of item or if it identifies an item, is the item actually the item. Reliability means that that a test can give an accurate result repeatedly.


  1. The Frye-Mack standard governs the admissibility of scientific evidence in Minnesota and requires that scientific evidence be generally accepted and considered reliable by the scientific community to be admissible.
  2. See State v. Klawitter, 518 N.W.2d 577, 585 (Minn. 1994).
  3. State v. Roman Nose, 649 N.W.2d 815, 822–23 (Minn. 2002).
  4. Id.
  5. State v Edstrom A10-912 (Minn. App. 2010).
  6. State v. Jensen, 482 N.W.2d 238, 239 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. May 15, 1992);see Minn. R. Evid. 702 (outlining requirements for expert testimony).
  7. State v. Reese, 692 N.W.2d 736, 740 (Minn. 2005).
  8. Goeb v. Tharaldson, 615 N.W.2d 800, 815 (Minn. 2000).
  9. Id.
  10. Id.