Supreme Court of Minnesota.
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STATE of Minnesota, Respondent, v. Leonard Allen GRECINGER, Sr., Appellant.
Defendant Leonard Allen Grecinger, Sr., to be convicted the attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the 3rd degree and was sentenced to 153 months in prison. The court that appeals affirmed this conviction. We must recognize whether professional testimony ~ above battered woman syndrome is admissible in the prosecution"s case-in-chief against an alleged batterer. We affirm the court that appeals. We host that such testimony correctly was admitted in the prosecution"s case-in-chief under Minn. R. Evid. 608(a) as soon as it was presented after the alleged victim"s credibility had actually been attacked by the defense throughout its opening statement and also during cross-examination; as soon as it met the needs of Minn. R. Evid. 702, because it aided the jury understand the alleged victim"s behavior; and also where, in accordance with State v. Hennum, 441 N.W.2d 793 (Minn.1989), the skilled testimony was limited to a summary of the syndrome and its characteristics, and also the skilled did not testify top top the ultimate reality of whether the alleged victim actually experienced from battered woman syndrome.
Grecinger had been in an on-and-off connection with the victim, Barbara Skoglund, for around three years, throughout which they lived together at assorted times. Top top September 28, 1991, Grecinger and also Skoglund attend a memorial run for the BPM motorcycle club and also a party that took ar afterward. The occasions that took place on that day and also the day before are in correctly dispute. At trial, Skoglund testified the on the night prior to the party, Grecinger got her by her hair, slapped her, threw her to the floor, and choked her until she shed consciousness. The following day, Skoglund stated that she go not want to attend the party but, according to her testimony, Grecinger insisted the she go. When at the party, Skoglund discovered Grecinger kissing a woman that was sitting on his lap. She testified that she threw the woman off his lap yet did not acquire into a fight through the woman. Skoglund climate told Grecinger that their connection was over and went into the bathroom.
Skoglund further testified the Grecinger followed her into the bathroom, close up door the door, and beat her. Grecinger got hold of her by the hair, threw she to the floor, kicked her, and also choked her until she shed consciousness. Throughout this time, Grecinger allegedly told her, “f you leaving me, I"m gonna death you; if i can"t have you, * * * no one"s gonna.” once Skoglund regained consciousness, she began screaming because that help, and Grecinger choked her again till she lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness a 2nd time, Grecinger demanded that she obtain on her knees, hug him, and also apologize because that making the angry. Grecinger climate told her to walk the end of the bathroom v her head increase high there is no crying or looking at anyone. Grecinger complied with Skoglund outside and also told her to acquire on his motorcycle. Skoglund started to run away native Grecinger, but he captured her and dragged her back over the dirt road to his motorcycle. Again, he told her to acquire on the motorcycle. She complied, and also they drive off.
Skoglund testified that during the motorcycle ride, Grecinger slapped she in the face. Upon showing up at Grecinger"s house, Skoglund broke away and ran under the street, screaming because that help. Two women stopped and also let her into their car.1 Skoglund asked them to take she to the residence of her friend, Char Copiskey, wherein she spent the night. The following morning, Copiskey said that they go to the stop Women"s Coalition (“Coalition”). At the Coalition, images were bring away of Skoglund. Skoglund was then taken to the emergency room because she to be fading in and out the consciousness.
Skoglund to be admitted come the hospital under an assumed name the end of problem for her safety, and also she stayed there for 5 days. She experienced from countless injuries, consisting of swelling and also bruising roughly both eyes; a fracture in she left orbital bone; bleeding in her right eye; bruising and also abrasions on her face, ear, and also neck; a swollen lip; swelling around her vocal cords continual with choking; bruising and also swelling on she shoulders, chest, arms, and also legs; an abrasion on she abdomen; and also a tender scalp.2
Two legislation enforcement police officers visited Skoglund in the hospital and tried to acquire a statement native her. Initially, Skoglund refused to talk to them since she did not desire to indicate the police; however, after being assured that Grecinger would not it is in arrested other than upon her request, she i agreeed to provide a statement. She told among the officers that the night prior to the party, Grecinger had choked her till she passed out, and also that in ~ the party, he followed her into the bathroom, wherein he threw she to the floor, slapped her, and again choked her right into unconsciousness. As soon as she gave the statement come police, Skoglund inquiry them not to push charges versus Grecinger at the time.
Skoglund also testified the while she was in the hospital, Copiskey lugged her a letter indigenous Grecinger in which the apologized because that what he did and also asked the she speak with him. Once Skoglund referred to as Grecinger, he promised he would certainly leave her alone if she go not press charges versus him. He additionally promised she he would seek treatment because that his anger.
Skoglund testified the she went earlier to the Coalition after leaving the hospital come retrieve the photos that were taken the her. She then provided the pictures to among her sisters for safekeeping.3 A few weeks later, Skoglund resumed her partnership with Grecinger, after the told her the he had actually stomach cancer and also would not live lot longer. At Grecinger"s insistence, Skoglund dubbed the sheriff"s department and also recanted, claiming the her injuries actually had been inflicted by 2 unknown males who attacked her when she left the party.
In she testimony, Skoglund admitted the she lied to part people around the reason of she injuries since she to be afraid the Grecinger.4 However, Skoglund also testified that she had actually previously identified Grecinger as her assailant come others, consisting of Copiskey, a police investigator, a worker indigenous the Coalition, and two of her sisters.5 On several occasions in 1992 and 1993, Skoglund petitioned for orders for protection against Grecinger; however, she either sought to have actually the petitions dismissed or failed come follow through on them, since she feared the Grecinger would injury her.6 Finally, in June 1994, Skoglund sought come reopen the investigation against Grecinger because that the alleged September 1991 assault, since she to be afraid he to be going to death her.
When Grecinger took the stand, his version of events dramatically differed indigenous Skoglund"s. Grecinger testified the the day prior to the memorial run, he told Skoglund he did not want her to accompany him to the run due to the fact that she regularly embarrassed him in public. Grecinger denied the he was physically violent toward Skoglund that day.
Grecinger testified that at the party complying with the memorial run, a mrs was sitting on his lap when Skoglund walked into the kitchen, got the woman by she hair, and also pulled she off the him. Although Grecinger do the efforts to rest up the fight, Skoglund wound up through her shirt torn, hair pulled out, scratches on she face, and also a bloody lip. After fighting with the woman, Skoglund got hold of Grecinger by his hair and also dragged him to the bathroom. Follow to Grecinger, Skoglund “went fully bananas” in the bathroom and kicked the toilet seat turn off the toilet, hit him through the toilet tank cover, and also ripped the medication cabinet turn off the wall. Skoglund then asked him to hug her and tell she he love her. Grecinger denied hitting or throttle Skoglund in the bathroom and maintained that he just tried to stop her native hurting him and herself.
Grecinger testified the they climate left the party to go home. As they neared his house, Skoglund jumped turn off the motorcycle and started running. Grecinger ran after her out of issue for her, however gave up after she jumped right into a vehicle with two males whom he believed she knew.
To assistance this testimony, many friends that Grecinger"s testified that they did not witness any kind of violence in between Grecinger and also Skoglund in ~ the party. Numerous defense witnesses additionally corroborated Grecinger"s testimony the Skoglund acquired into a fight with an additional woman at the party. The defense additionally attacked Skoglund"s credibility, arguing that the three-year gap in between the time the event occurred and also the time Skoglund pursued prosecution demonstrated the she was not credible. Because that instance, during opening statements, Grecinger"s attorney stated that for nearly three years, Skoglund had used the alleged occurrence to manage Grecinger. Furthermore, Grecinger"s attorney cross-examined Skoglund about her delay in seeking prosecution.
In an answer to the defense"s assault on Skoglund"s credibility, the start sought to introduce experienced testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome. The court admitted the experienced testimony over Grecinger"s objection. As structure for the expert testimony, a psychologist testified the she first treated Skoglund in October 1992. The psychologist testified that Skoglund reported symptom of stress stemming from a physically abusive episode with her friend one year earlier. The psychologist ultimately diagnosed Skoglund as suffering from posttraumatic tension disorder.
After Skoglund and also the psychologist who treated her had testified, an expert witness testified about battered mrs syndrome, i beg your pardon she described as a subset of posttraumatic stress and anxiety disorder. The experienced further testified that the symptom of a woman experiencing from battered mrs syndrome can encompass feelings of terror, accept of blame because that the battering, a an unfavorable self-image, isolation, denial or minimization of the abuse, and also depression. She described that numerous battered women carry out not report the abuse the end of fear for their safety, denial of the abuse, fear that no one will certainly listen, or hope that the batterer will change.
The jury convicted Grecinger of attempted murder in the 2nd degree and also assault in the third degree, and he to be sentenced to 153 month in prison. On appeal come the court that appeals, Grecinger said that the professional testimony should have actually been excluded because it to be irrelevant and lacked ideal foundation. The court that appeals affirmed Grecinger"s conviction, stop that skilled testimony top top battered mrs syndrome was appropriately admitted due to the fact that it assisted the jury recognize the delay in reporting and the inconsistencies in the victim"s testimony.7 on appeal come this court, Grecinger argues that the professional testimony to be improperly admitted, because it was not valuable to the jury and because the was merely duplicative of various other witnesses" testimony about the factors for the delay prosecution.8
We note at the outset that traditionally we have actually proceeded with good caution when admitting testimony of experienced witnesses, specifically in criminal cases. An skilled with one-of-a-kind knowledge has the potential to affect a jury unduly. Special treatment must it is in taken by the trial referee to ensure the the defendant"s presumption that innocence does not gain lost in the flurry of professional testimony and, more importantly, that the obligation for judging credibility and also the facts remains with the jury. Thus, the court have to ascertain whether such testimony is relevant, check out Minn. R. Evid. 404(a), 608(a), whether it is beneficial to the trier the fact, check out Minn. R. Evid. 702, and whether that prejudicial effect substantially outweighs its probative value, watch Minn. R. Evid. 403.
Under Minn. R. Evid. 608(a), the credibility that a witness have the right to be supported by proof in the type of an opinion only once the personality of the witness has been assaulted in that respect. See State v. Fader, 358 N.W.2d 42, 47 (Minn.1984). Since the victim"s credibility deserve to be attacked during cross-examination of the victim or even during opening statements, the prosecution require not wait till rebuttal to present expert testimony ~ above battered woman syndrome. Rather, such testimony may be presented as rehabilitative evidence throughout the state"s case-in-chief. Cf., e.g., civilization v. Sanchez, 208 Cal.App.3d 721, 256 Cal.Rptr. 446, 454 (1989) (holding the prosecution"s presentation of professional testimony ~ above child sex-related abuse accommodation syndrome during case-in-chief to be permissible, since the victim"s credibility was already at issue), cert. Denied, 493 U.S. 921, 110 S.Ct. 286, 107 L.Ed.2d 266 (1989).
Consequently, the admission of battered woman syndrome testimony during the state"s case-in-chief in this situation was proper under Minn. R. Evid. 608(a). By the moment the skilled testimony top top battered mrs syndrome was presented, Skoglund"s credibility about her delay in seeking prosecution of Grecinger was currently at issue. During opening statements, Grecinger"s attorney said that throughout the gap in time, Skoglund supplied the alleged occurrence to control Grecinger.9 Furthermore, as soon as cross-examining Skoglund, Grecinger"s attorney briefly doubted Skoglund regarding her hold-up in search prosecution.
Although the prosecutor asserted just that battered mrs syndrome testimony was being offered to describe the delay in prosecution, such testimony arguably was responsive to other attacks against Skoglund"s credibility. Because that instance, Grecinger"s attorney declared that Skoglund was a liar due to the fact that of the assorted stories she had actually told to explain her injuries. Furthermore, Grecinger"s attorney doubted Skoglund around why she went back to her relationship with Grecinger ~ the alleged assault, and why she recanted declaration she had made once seeking an order because that protection against Grecinger.
Having concluded that expert testimony about battered females syndrome might properly be admitted to rehabilitate Skoglund"s credibility under dominion 608(a), we must ascertain even if it is it is admissible under Minn. R. Evid. 702 when presented as part of the prosecution"s case-in-chief. In State v. Hennum, this court taken into consideration the admissibility of expert testimony top top battered mrs syndrome to assistance a defendant"s self-defense claim for the shooting fatality of she husband. We decided two important concerns in Hennum. First, we held that battered mrs syndrome has gained sufficient scientific acceptance to warrant admissibility as expert testimony. Hennum, 441 N.W.2d at 798-99. We organized that such testimony to solve the helpfulness check of Minn. R. Evid. 702, since it helped to explain a phenomenon the was not interpreted by the average person. Id. At 798. Second, this court organized that professional testimony top top battered mrs syndrome have to be limited to a description of the syndrome and also its characteristics. Id. At 799. We hosted that the skilled should not be permitted to testify ~ above the ultimate truth of even if it is the particular defendant actually suffers from battered mrs syndrome. Id.
The inquiry raised by this case is under what situations our stop in Hennum must be extended to allow for prosecutorial usage of professional testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome. Grecinger does no argue that skilled testimony ~ above battered woman syndrome should be divide excluded from the prosecution"s case-in-chief versus an alleged batterer. Rather, he suggests that under Minn. R. Evid. 702, experienced testimony top top battered mrs syndrome should be admissible just to resolve an concern that is inherently confusing to the jury and only as soon as there is no other proof to resolve it.
The decision to admit experienced testimony is within the psychological court"s discretion, and also this court will certainly not turning back such a determination lacking an obvious error. View State v. Borchardt, 478 N.W.2d 757, 760 (Minn.1991). This decision is guided by dominance 702, i beg your pardon provides:
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will aid the trier of fact to know the proof or to identify a reality in issue, a evil qualified together an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the kind of an opinion or otherwise.
Minn. R. Evid. 702. The straightforward consideration in admitting skilled testimony under preeminence 702 is the helpfulness test-that is, even if it is the testimony will help the jury in solving factual concerns presented. See State v. Myers, 359 N.W.2d 604, 609 (Minn.1984); State v. Helterbridle, 301 N.W.2d 545, 547 (Minn.1980). Thus, “f the subject of the testimony is within the knowledge and experience that a put jury and the testimony the the professional will not add precision or depth to the jury"s capability to with conclusions around that topic which is within your experience, climate the testimony does not meet the helpfulness test.” Helterbridle, 301 N.W.2d in ~ 547.
In this case, Grecinger contends the the experienced testimony walk not accomplish the helpfulness test because it to be cumulative the other proof in the case. He observes that before the expert witness" testimony, several various other witnesses had actually testified regarding why the prosecution was delayed. For example, Skoglund testified that she go not automatically pursue prosecution since Grecinger required her to recant her statement to the sheriff"s department. Furthermore, a deputy sheriff testified that he go not go after prosecution at the time of the alleged incident due to the fact that he had actually promised Skoglund he would not arrest Grecinger uneven she asked for that he perform so.
However, together testimony go not define why Skoglund did not seek prosecution at the moment of the assault. Instead, the jury might think that a woman who is to win by she mate would instantly seek to have actually him arrested and also that together a woman would not recant together a statement regardless of threats made by the batterer. Consequently, the professional testimony ~ above battered woman syndrome was not duplicative of former testimony; rather, that was important to explain the complexity of Skoglund"s behavior and also the factors for she behavior.
The helpfulness of experienced testimony on battered woman syndrome was decided by this court in Hennum, wherein we hosted that professional testimony on battered mrs syndrome would aid to define a phenomenon not within the expertise of an plain lay person. Hennum, 441 N.W.2d in ~ 798. Thus, it appears clear that the expert"s testimony on battered woman syndrome could aid the jury know why Skoglund went back to the partnership with Grecinger ~ the incident, told inconsistent stories about how she injuries were inflicted, waited almost three year to seek prosecution that Grecinger, and also recanted statements she made come the police and the district court about Grecinger"s abuse. As this court known in Hennum, the expert testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome would help the jury to know the behavior of a woman suffering from the syndrome, which can otherwise be construed as a lack of credibility. See id.
Our decision now is additional supported by the Eighth Circuit Court the Appeals" decision in Arcoren v. Joined States, 929 F.2d 1235 (8th Cir.), cert. Denied, 502 U.S. 913, 112 S.Ct. 312, 116 L.Ed.2d 255 (1991).10 In the case, the defendant"s mam told a federal cool jury that the defendant had beaten and raped her, but she later on recanted that testimony at the defendant"s trial. Id. In ~ 1237-38. End the defendant"s objections, the district court permitted the prosecution to existing expert testimony top top battered mrs syndrome, and also the jury subsequently convicted the defendant. Id. At 1238-39.
On appeal, the defendant said that testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome have to be admissible only to assistance a case of self-defense. Id. In ~ 1241. However, the Eighth Circuit concluded the if the experienced testimony satisfies the requirements of ascendancy 702, the is immaterial whether together testimony is gift by the start or through the defense. Id. Thinking that the expert"s testimony helped the jury understand and also evaluate the changes in the wife"s testimony, the court upheld the join of the testimony. Id.
As listed in Arcoren, “ ‘t would seem anomalous to enable a battered woman, wherein she is a criminal defendant, to offer this kind of experienced testimony in bespeak to aid the jury understand the action she took, however deny her that same opportunity once she is the complaining witness and/or victim and also her abuser is the criminal defendant.’ ” Id. (quoting State v. Frost, 242 N.J.Super. 601, 577 A.2d 1282, 1287, certification denied, 127 N.J. 321, 604 A.2d 596 (1990)). Consequently, we organize in the instant instance that the prosecutor"s use of expert testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome to be admissible under dominion 702, due to the fact that it could help the jury understand behavior that might otherwise weaken the complainant"s credibility.
Grecinger additionally argues the the admission of professional testimony top top battered mrs syndrome to be unfairly prejudicial because such testimony shifted attention away indigenous the case and also focused top top the problem of domestic violence. Unlike scenarios in which expert testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome is gift to support a defendant"s case of self-defense, prosecutorial usage of such testimony raises the added concern because that the rights of the alleged batterer in together a proceeding. Due to the fact that of the special knowledge that experienced witnesses possess, we space concerned around the potential for skilled testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome to affect a jury unduly, specifically in cases such together this wherein there are two entirely various accounts the the events in controversy. Thus, to minimize the potential because that unfair prejudice to the defendant, us caution trial judges that cautious inquiry and balancing should be do under Minn. R. Evid. 403.
Under dominion 403, relevant and even useful expert testimony may be excluded if the probative worth of together testimony is considerably outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or the misleading the jury. See, e.g., Borchardt, 478 N.W.2d at 761-62; Myers, 359 N.W.2d in ~ 609-10. Back this court has actually not previously thought about the admissibility of professional testimony top top battered woman syndrome under preeminence 403, other state courts have addressed this an exact issue. To compare State v. Battista, 31 Conn.App. 497, 626 A.2d 769, 779-80 (prosecutorial usage of testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome was not prejudicial, particularly because of the court"s limiting instruction), cert. Denied, 227 Conn. 907, 632 A.2d 696 (1993), and also State v. Ciskie, 110 Wash.2d 263, 751 P.2d 1165, 1173-74 (1988) (prosecutorial usage of battered mrs syndrome testimony was not unfairly prejudicial to defendant, particularly because professional was not allowed to assess the victim"s credibility), through State v. Pargeon, 64 Ohio App.3d 679, 582 N.E.2d 665, 666-67 (1991) (trial court erred by permitting state to current testimony during its case-in-chief in which expert opined the victim experienced from battered woman syndrome; such testimony produced unfairly prejudicial inference the defendant"s propensity come batter victim).
We made decision in Hennum that the theory underlying battered woman syndrome is beyond the speculative stage and has gained substantial acceptance in the scientific community. Hennum, 441 N.W.2d in ~ 798-99. Once the scientific dependability of expert testimony is not at issue, this court has actually upheld the presentation of experienced testimony by the prosecution to explain complainant"s behavior under ascendancy 403. Because that instance, this court has actually held the the prosecution"s presentation of skilled testimony on the common reporting methods of adolescent victim of sexual assault was no unfairly prejudicial to a defendant charged with criminal sex-related conduct. Watch State v. Hall, 406 N.W.2d 503, 505 (Minn.1987).
Thus, a defendant need not be unfairly prejudiced by the prosecution"s usage of professional testimony on battered mrs syndrome, if adequate limitations are placed on the presentation thereof. In Hennum, this court hosted that an experienced testifying on battered woman syndrome might not testify regarding whether the defendant in reality suffers native the syndrome. Hennum, 441 N.W.2d in ~ 799. This holding similarly applies to expert testimony ~ above battered woman syndrome presented by the prosecution. Such a limitation offers one way of ensuring the such testimony will certainly not unfair prejudice the alleged batterer.
In addition, since of our concern about the affect expert testimony on battered woman syndrome may have on the jury, us emphasize the the experienced may not suggest that the complainant was battered, to be truthful, or to the right the battered woman syndrome. Likewise, the experienced may no express one opinion regarding whether the defendant to be in reality a batterer.
In the case at hand, the experienced testimony to be adequately limited and was not unfairly prejudicial to Grecinger. Earlier in the trial, the testimony that a psychologist who had treated Skoglund set the foundation for the skilled testimony on battered mrs syndrome. The psychologist simply testified to attributes possessed by Skoglund i beg your pardon were regular with those found in someone enduring from battered mrs syndrome.11 although the psychologist testified the she diagnosed Skoglund v posttraumatic tension disorder, she did not provide testimony top top the ultimate reality of even if it is Skoglund endured from battered woman syndrome. Similarly, as soon as the experienced witness took the stand, her testimony was minimal to a meaning of battered mrs syndrome, one explanation the the basic symptoms of posttraumatic tension disorder as exhibited by quit women, and a summary of common characteristics shared by battered women. The expert did no testify as to whether Skoglund endured from battered woman syndrome, even if it is or as soon as Skoglund had told the truth, or whether Grecinger was a batterer. Consequently, the worry of Skoglund"s credibility continued to be in the hand of the jury, and also Grecinger was not unfairly prejudiced.
In summary, we hold that experienced testimony on battered mrs syndrome presented during the prosecution"s case-in-chief is admissible if that is presented after the victim"s credibility has actually been struck by the defense, watch Minn. R. Evid. 608(a), if it helps the jury understand the victim"s inconsistent explanation or delay in seeking prosecution of the batterer, view Minn. R. Evid. 702, and also if the experienced merely describes the syndrome and its characteristics and also does not market an opinion as to whether the victim suffers native it, in order to reducing the hazard of unfair prejudice to the defendant, view Minn. R. Evid. 403.
Stringer, justice (concurring specially).
While i agree v the bulk that admitting skilled testimony about battered mrs syndrome was within the vast discretion the trial court exercises end admissibility the evidence, and also therefore concur in affirming the conviction, ns write independently to to express a concern concerning the potential influence of this type of proof on the jury, and what the attempt court should do to minimization the potential because that unfair prejudice to the defendant.1
It is our legacy of justice that we look come the jury to apply its experience and also common sense in the find for truth, and also we are loath to enable testimony that in any means interferes v its obligation to fix these “ultimate issues.” view 3 Christopher B. Mueller & Laird C. Kirkpatrick, Federal evidence § 351, at 636 (2d ed.1994). To attend to this concern, this court has embraced the rules of Evidence, and particularly Rule 403, implementing a balancing test weighing the probative worth of pertinent evidence versus the risk of unfair prejudice and also other concerns. Proof may it is in excluded, although relevant, if the harmful impact substantially outweighs the probative value. Minn. R. Evid. 403. The trial courts effectively are entrusted with wide discretion in using this test. Thus, in State v. Hennum, we held that evidence of battered mrs syndrome was correctly admitted where readily available by the defendant together a shield to assist the jury recognize the admitted killing of her husband in the paper definition of a permanent abusive relationship. 441 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Minn.1989). We additional held that the expert"s testimony was restricted to a summary of the basic nature the battered mrs syndrome: “The experienced should no be enabled to testify regarding the ultimate fact that the specific defendant in reality suffers indigenous battered mrs syndrome.” Id. In ~ 799.
Here, however, the situation is rather different, together in these circumstances proof of the syndrome is offered by the state together a prosecutorial sword, and also the threat of over prejudicing the defendant"s ideal to a presumption the innocence and a same trial is well-illustrated. The complainant, who was in an intimate connection with the defendant, alleged the the defendant repeatedly and regularly battered her throughout the food of the relationship; the defendant refuse the battering, providing an entirely different account that the events in controversy. Thus, the jury was confronted with the concern of whom to believe. Defendant tested the complainant"s credibility by cross-examining her as to why, if she were so regularly and frequently battered, she continued in her partnership with the defendant, and also why for 3 years she did no complain to legislation enforcement authorities; further, once she walk complain, why she later on withdrew her complaint. Come rehabilitate the complainant, skilled testimony on battered woman syndrome was available by the prosecution and admitted in evidence to explain how fear, intimidation, and also helplessness have tendency to save a woman in an abusive relationship.
The admission of the expert testimony on battered mrs syndrome might have a profound influence on the jury in the determination regarding whom to believe on the basic issue of even if it is the battering emerged at all-even despite the court banned the professional witness native testifying regarding whether the complainant to be in truth a battered woman. The appropriate to a presumption the innocence would quickly be an empty epithet unless the attempt court exercises extraordinary vigilance in applying Rule 403 under scenarios such as we have here, whereby guilt or innocence turns exclusively on i beg your pardon of two accounts to believe, and expert testimony, the arguably implies that the criminal command charged actually did occur, is readily available to explain inconsistent conduct by the complainant. Careful inquiry need to be made under dominion 403 as to all elements of the need for, and also value of, the expert testimony as rehabilitative the the witness" credibility and its helpfulness come the jury, and these components must it is in balanced versus the clean potential because that unfair prejudice come the defendant.
I agree v the majority that since of the potential for significant prejudice, in enhancement to prohibiting the witness native testifying as to whether the complainant in fact suffered from battered woman syndrome, the psychological court have to not admit testimony that would suggest that the complainant to be battered or right the battered woman profile, that the complainant to be truthful, or that the defendant to be a batterer. Further, I would impose the added restriction that, in situations where the proof is used offensively as here, the trial court have to prohibit any type of expert who has examined the complainant indigenous testifying as to the general nature the battered woman syndrome in order to assure that no prejudicial inferences can be attracted that the complainant was in truth battered or suffered from battered mrs syndrome. These restrictions have been endorsed by other courts, check out 3 Mueller & Kirkpatrick, supra, in ~ 639, and also will protect versus the jury perceiving the expert testimony as evidence on the ultimate worry of guilt or innocence.
1. Skoglund testified that one of the women gave her an deal with and phone number and also asked Skoglund come call and let her understand that she was every right. However, Skoglund lost the information, and also was unable to situate the ladies afterward.
2. Three physicians testified regarding the injuries experienced by Skoglund. One doctor said that the neck injuries on Skoglund can only have been inflicted native choking.
3. These pictures were later retrieved by Skoglund and also presented as proof at the trial.
4. Skoglund admitted that originally she told one of her sisters that she was hit by a car.
5. All yet one of these human being testified (as did several physicians who treated Skoglund"s injuries) the Skoglund had figured out Grecinger together her assailant. However, Copiskey testified that once Skoglund came down on her house, Skoglund said her the she had been assaulted by 2 unknown men on a dust road.
6. Skoglund admitted the she as soon as lied come a judge concerning an stimulate for protection she search in may 1992. Skoglund said that Grecinger forced her to write a letter to the judge withdrawing her request for the order.
7. The court that appeals additionally held the there was enough evidence to assistance a conviction and that the attempt court did not abuse that discretion in not included testimony regarding an accused fraudulent claim lugged by Skoglund.
8. Return Grecinger raised three worries in his petition because that review, his brief only obstacles the admissibility of professional testimony ~ above battered mrs syndrome. This court has held that worries not said in briefs are deemed waived on appeal. Balder v. Haley, 399 N.W.2d 77, 80 (Minn.1987).
9. Throughout his opening statement, defense counsel depicted Skoglund as a woman that manipulated the case so regarding control Grecinger through the risk of prosecution. Defense counsel stated:The sheriff then comes out and the sheriff tries to take it a statement. And also she cut the deal, I"ll tell friend what happened, but you don"t phone call anybody, friend don"t prosecute, girlfriend don"t do anything until I speak so. She"s continuing to be in control. And also she maintains this control, you will certainly learn, right up until April or may of 1994, two and also one-half years later. Already she and Leonard space separated.Why walk she want to stay in control? Well, i think the prize to the is and I think the evidence will display that throughout the course of she life v Leonard Grecinger after this incident, the she sort of blackmailed him v this, type of retained him in line. You carry out what ns say or I"m going come go perform this or I"m going to go carry out that.Record in ~ 47-48.
10. Plenty of other says have thought about this issue and also have organized that prosecutorial use of experienced testimony on battered woman syndrome is admissible. In most cases, together testimony was permitted in instances in i beg your pardon the victim recanted her earlier allegation the abuse. View State v.Borrelli, 227 Conn. 153, 629 A.2d 1105, 1112-15 (1993) (testimony top top battered woman syndrome to be admissible to explain victim"s recantation of her allegation that abuse and also her delay in contacting police); hawks v. The State, 223 Ga.App. 890, 479 S.E.2d 186, 189 (1996) (testimony top top battered woman syndrome was admissible to define the victim"s contradictory testimony); State v. Clark, 83 Haw. 289, 926 P.2d 194, 203-04 (testimony on battered mrs syndrome was appropriately admitted to explain victim"s disavowal that her previously allegation the her husband had actually stabbed her), reconsideration denied, 83 Haw. 545, 928 P.2d 39 (1996); State v. Searles, 141 N.H. 224, 680 A.2d 612, 615 (1996) (testimony on battered mrs syndrome to be admissible to provide a reasonable explanation for the victim"s adjusted testimony); State v. Bednarz, 179 Wis.2d 460, 507 N.W.2d 168, 171-72 (Wis.App.1993) (testimony on battered mrs syndrome to be admissible to provide one feasible explanation because that victim"s recantation of statements she made come police), testimonial denied, --- Wis.2d ----, 513 N.W.2d 406 (1994).
11. In Hennum, this court organized that every party may current witnesses come “testify to features possessed by the defendant i m sorry are continuous with those found in someone suffering from battered woman syndrome.” Hennum, 441 N.W.2d in ~ 799.
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1. Number of commentators have expressed concerns around the prejudicial effect and also potential misuse by the jury that “social frame evidence” such as expert testimony on battered mrs syndrome. See, e.g., Cathleen C. Herasimchuk, A Practical overview to the Admissibility that Novel Expert evidence in Criminal Trials Under Federal ascendancy 702, 22 St. Mary"s L.J. 181, 246-47 (1990) (“Expert testimony relating come a scientific ar which is only in an emerging, experimental stage, can pose a greater potential because that affecting a jury in one emotional feeling if the jury is most likely to conclude wrongly that the scientific expertise is infallible.”); Myrna S. Raeder, The Double-Edged Sword: Admissibility of Battered mrs Syndrome by and versus Batterers in situations Implicating domestic Violence, 67 U. Colo. L.Rev. 789, 791 (1996) (“It is undeniable that any type of society science proof presented by prosecutors is no only highly prejudicial but likewise may not endure a an obstacle based ~ above its being evidence of team character.”); Neil J. Vidmar & Regina A. Schuller, Juries and also Expert Evidence: Social framework Testimony, law & Contemp. Probs., loss 1989, in ~ 133, 143 (“Social framework evidence is intended to be used for a restricted purpose, namely to provide a context for examining the testimony the a witness. It have to not be used to evaluate witness credibility, which is solely the task of the jury.”); Joan M. Schroeder, Note, utilizing Battered mrs Syndrome proof in the beginning of a Batterer, 76 Iowa L.Rev. 553, 577 (1991) (“