Arizona Supreme Court On Expert Witness Testimony

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that an expert witness may testify about general principles and practices without knowing details of the criminal defendant’s case. Martin Salazar-Mercado was indicted in Pima County in 2011 on multiple charges of child molestation. The defense tried to stop testimony by child abuse expert witness Wendy Dutton, RN, PhD.  Dr. Dutton is Program Director of the Child Abuse Assessment Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, and described to the court Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome.
Judge Ann Scott Timmer wrote that while the expert cannot testify about “the accuracy, reliability or credibility of a particular witness in the case being tried…Expert testimony about general behavior patterns of child sexual abuse victims may help the jury understand the evidence.’’

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