A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.

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John Nixon v Lucien C Haag, Association of Firearm & Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE), & David J Brundage,

US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Truth is Out There Right Here

The background, and ultimate result, of this case (concluded December 2012) are frequently misinterpreted or misrepresented to imply that John Nixon gave dishonest testimony and that a court disqualified him as a firearms expert because of it; neither inference is correct. John Nixon did not give dishonest testimony, nor did a court disqualify him as a firearms expert (or any other kind of expert).

It should be noted that at the time of this incident (2006) Nixon had been working and testifying as a firearms expert for approximately ten years, and has since given sworn expert testimony approximately fifty times.

John Nixon felt that he had been defamed following the distribution of a publication authored by Lucien Conrad Haag. The publication claimed that John Nixon had been disqualified as a firearms expert and that he had given false testimony regarding his denial of provisional membership in the Association of Firearm & Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE). John Nixon’s opinion was that the Haag statements were incorrect, published either with malice, or with a reckless disregard for the truth, and damaging to his professional reputation – defamation per se.

Unfortunately, the court granted summary judgment even though in all likelihood, a jury would have found in favor of John Nixon.

A chronological summary of events & opinions, with links to supporting documents, is provided in Table 1 below.

 

Summary of Chronology & Opinions

The evidence presented here unequivocally demonstrates that John Nixon did not give the alleged false testimony ("false" meaning EITHER dishonest OR mistaken, as defined by the US 7th Circuit) and was not disqualified as a firearms expert in 2006.

In early November 2003 John Nixon submitted a full & complete application for provisional membership in the Association of Firearm & Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE), including 3 good references. The application was processed by the AFTE Membership Secretary, who noted that John Nixon had erred in that he had not submitted a check for his first year’s membership dues. The AFTE Membership Secretary wrote to John Nixon asking him to pay $100, which he did. No other deficiencies with the application were mentioned.

In January 2004 AFTE’s First Vice President, & Chairman of the AFTE Board of Admissions, wrote to John Nixon informing him that once the Board of Admissions considered him to have met all the criteria for provisional membership his name would be published in the AFTE Journal. John Nixon’s name was subsequently published in two AFTE Journals, effectively telling him that the AFTE Board of Admissions had deemed him to have met the criteria for provisional membership (Nixon was even assigned a membership number - 2388). Sometime thereafter, John Nixon received a letter from the AFTE President informing him that his provisional membership application had been denied – no reason provided.

In June 2004 John Nixon testified in a pre-trial hearing in the case of IN v Jeter, during which he was asked about this denial of provisional membership in AFTE. John Nixon testified that he had no idea why his application would have been denied because he had met all of the criteria for provisional membership (the AFTE First Vice President & Chairman of the Board of Admissions had told him so).

So, no false testimony (either dishonest or mistaken), just good honest & accurate testimony.

John Nixon had been working as an expert consultant on the case of IN v Jeter for some time, however, in April 2006 he deemed it necessary to officially withdraw from the case, under the terms of his contract, and informed the attorney of his decision. John Nixon was subsequently subpoenaed to testify at trial in May of 2006, and he obeyed that subpoena, appearing at trial as a lay witness in order to introduce some photographs that he had taken. Immediately prior to trial he repeatedly informed the attorney that he was not there to appear as an expert, but despite this the attorney made a half-hearted attempt to have the court qualify him as an expert. The opposing attorney objected, and this was sustained by the Court, subject to foundation (requiring additional information). The Court instructed the attorney to ask John Nixon questions about his experience, which he did – sixteen questions being asked and answered. The Court then asked the attorney if he still wanted to have John Nixon qualified as an expert, to which the attorney replied that he did not, he wanted only to have him testify as a lay witness to introduce some photographs. At no time did the Court disqualify John Nixon as a firearms expert, nor was there ever any allegation of false testimony.

Within a few days of this event, in May 2006, despite not being present for John Nixon’s testimony, and therefore having no personal knowledge of it, Luke Haag published a document stating that John Nixon had given false testimony regarding his AFTE provisional membership denial, and that he had been disqualified as a firearms expert.

In September 2006 Luke Haag was deposed in an unrelated matter. Luke Haag testified under oath that John Nixon had not attempted to qualify as an expert in the May 2006 Jeter trial, he merely appeared to introduce some photographs.

So, Luke Haag, in his own Sept 2006 sworn testimony, essentially stated that John Nixon had not been disqualified as a firearms expert in May 2006.

 

Table 1

John Nixon v Haag, AFTE, & Brundage

US 7th Circuit

Chronological Summary of Events & Opinions

1-1

Nov 6 2003

John Nixon submitted a complete AFTE provisional membership application package to the AFTE Membership Secretary, including 3 good references.
1-2 Nov 24 2003 The AFTE Membership Secretary contacted John Nixon informing him that he had made an error (omission) with his application. The Membership Secretary requested $100 for the first year’s membership dues. No mention was made of any additional deficiencies with the submitted application materials.
1-3 Dec 8 2003 Email communication between the AFTE Membership Secretary and John Nixon, confirming receipt of the $100 first year membership dues. No mention was made of any deficiency with the application materials.
1-4 Jan 2004 John Nixon received a letter, dated January 16 2004, from the AFTE First Vice President, and Chairman of the Board of Admissions, stating that once the AFTE Board of Admissions had considered him to have met the requirements for entry as a provisional member his name would be printed in the AFTE Journal. [1].
1-5 Early 2004 John Nixon’s name was published in two AFTE Journals [2] thereby confirming that the Board of Admissions had decided that he had met all provisional membership requirements, as laid down in Section III of the AFTE Bylaws.
1-6 May 2004 John Nixon received a letter from the AFTE President, dated May 14 2004, advising him that his application for provisional membership had been denied. No reason was given.
1-7 June 22 2004 During a pre-trial hearing in the case of IN v Jeter, John Nixon was asked about the reasons for his AFTE membership denial. John Nixon stated that he did not know why he was denied membership because he met all the entry criteria for provisional membership in AFTE. [3].
1-8 April 2006 John Nixon officially withdrew from the case of IN v Jeter.
1-9 May 18 2006 In response to a subpoena, John Nixon attended the IN v Jeter trial as a lay witness. When he testified the defense attorney asked the court to qualify him as an expert. The prosecutor objected, and the court sustained the objection subject to foundation. The Court instructed the defense attorney to ask Nixon additional questions about his experience, which he did (16 questions asked and answered). The defense attorney did not subsequently ask the Court to qualify Nixon as an expert, and when the Court asked the defense attorney if he wished to do so, he replied that he was merely using Nixon as a lay witness to introduce some photographs that he had taken. [4]. At the time of the Jeter trial Nixon had been working and testifying as a firearms expert for approximately ten years, and has since given sworn expert testimony approximately fifty times.
1-10 May 2006 Within a few days of Nixon’s testimony, and without any personal knowledge, or transcript, of the Nixon testimony, Luke Haag authored a publication stating that Nixon had given false testimony regarding his AFTE provisional membership denial and that he had been disqualified as a firearms expert.
1-11 Sept 2006 Luke Haag was deposed in an unrelated matter and was asked about John Nixon’s testimony in the Jeter case on May 18 2006. Luke Haag's sworn deposition testimony was that John Nixon had not attempted to qualify as an expert in the Jeter trial, he merely introduced some photographs. [5].

 

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, WWII (40-45)

 

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John Nixon, firearms expert, Bippus, Indiana