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Expert Witness – Comment On Truthfulness of Another Witness

State v. Carlos R. Delgado, 2002 WI App 38
For Delgado: Richard D. Martin, Diana M. Felsmann, SPD, Milwaukee Appellate

Issue/Holding:

¶8. After reviewing these cases, we can discern some general rules: (1) an expert witness can offer opinion testimony only if it complies with Wis. Stat. § 907.02; (2) the testimony can include opinions regarding symptomatology common to child sexual assault victims; (3) the testimony can include a description of the symptoms exhibited by the victims; and (4) the testimony can include the expert’s opinion as to whether or not the victims’ behavior is consistent with behavior of sexual assault victims. Our supreme court has concluded that such testimony is not tantamount to vouching for the credibility of the victims and does not establish that an assault actually occurred.
¶9. We can also conclude from this case law assessment what an expert witness may not do: (1) he or she may not testify that the victim is “being totally truthful,” State v. Romero, 147 Wis. 2d 264, 277, 432 N.W.2d 899 (1988) (citation omitted); (2) he or she may not testify that there is “no doubt whatsoever” that the accuser was a victim of moral turpitude, Haseltine, 120 Wis. 2d at 96 (citation omitted); and (3) if he or she is hired to determine whether or not an assault has occurred, the testimony may be limited.”

 

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