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EXPERT TESTIMONY Dual Role; Drug Jargon


Where a defendant convicted of distributing cocaine challenged the admission of testimony from a federal agent, arguing that because the agent gave lay testimony about his personal knowledge of the investigation, it was then error to admit his expert testimony interpreting drug jargon, the admission was not an abuse of discretion because the District Court and counsel took appropriate measures to minimize the problems that could arise from the dual-role testimony. Judgment is affirmed.

14-3702 U.S. v. Moralez, appealed from the Western District of Missouri, Beam, J.

Expert Testimony Helpful to Jury


Appellant challenged his conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, arguing that the District Court erred by allowing irrelevant, unhelpful expert testimony and that the state failed to prove that the complainant did not freely consent to the sexual conduct. Appellant also argued that the District Court erred by imposing multiple sentences for crimes arising out of the same behavioral incident based on its erroneous finding that the criminal sexual conduct was committed with force or violence and the District Court’s erroneous interpretation of the consequences of that finding. Appellant’s objection to the expert’s testimony was that the testimony was not helpful to the jury and was irrelevant because it did not address the precise questions before the jury of whether the victim had a reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm and whether she consented to sexual conduct. The Court of Appeals held that because the victim’s initiation of sexual activity was counterintuitive behavior that could lie outside the common understanding of an average juror and could have been helpful to the jury as relevant to the issue of consent, the District Court did not abuse its discretion by permitting this expert testimony. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of criminal sexual conduct but, because the record did not support the District Court’s finding that appellant committed the crime of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with force or violence, it reversed the imposition of multiple sentences and remanded for the imposition of a single sentence for all of appellant’s crimes, which were committed in a single behavioral incident.

A14-1771 State v. Brothers (Redwood County)

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