Prosecutorial Use of Expert Testimony in Domestic Violence Cases: From Recantation to Refusal to Testify
26 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2009
Date Written: 1998
This article discusses the use of expert testimony in prosecuting those charged with domestic abuse. Part I provides a background on the need and nature of expert testimony in domestic violence cases and the requirements for the admission of such expert testimony. It traces the development of the role of expert testimony in domestic violence cases from its initial exclusive use as a defense tool to support self-defense claims to its present use by prosecutors to explain a complainant's recantation or other puzzling behavior. Part II discusses the appellate cases that have addressed the admissibility and scope of expert testimony offered by the prosecution in domestic abuse cases. It then analyzes the proper uses of the expert testimony, including when the State may introduce the testimony and what guidelines courts should follow to ensure that its probative value outweighs any prejudicial effect on the defendant. Part III applies the existing case law to the uncharted issue of whether the courts should allow expert testimony to explain a complainant's outright refusal to testify.
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