Artwork by Sarah Sabri, Advanced Course Class #18
E-News: Five Important Resources for Experts
Dear Friends,
Welcome to another edition of the Strangulation Prevention E-News. The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention launched E-News to share important information about non- and near-fatal strangulation assaults. Each E-News focuses on one subject, highlights one organization or individual, and/or shares one featured resource. 
For this E-News, we want to share five important tips and resources from our faculty about testifying in court. 
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
1. Preparation – Do It.
2. Appearance – Rock it
3. Demeanor – Make it Good
4. Competence – Project it
5. Asphyxia – Know it
6. Petechiae – Spell it
7. Bias – Lose it
8. Jury Comprehension – Use small words
9. Opinions – Have them
10. Hostile Questions – Handle them
1.   Commonwealth v. Lopez (2004) 578 PA 545 - Expert witness permitted to testify about victim’s state of mind before death. Strangulation is terrifying. The average lay person is generally unacquainted with the physical process accompanying ligature strangulation.
2.   People v. Rick, 2007 WL 122860 (Michigan) – Paramedics and nurse qualified to testify that choking to the point of unconsciousness could cause brain damage, loss of motor function or possibly death. Court also found their testimony was based on common sense.
3.   Carter v. State (2010) 235 P.3d 221- Law Enforcement Officer qualified to testify about strangulation/suffocation. Officer qualified to give expert testimony as to petechiae and delayed bruising in strangulation victims. No requirement that a witness possess a particular license or academic degree.
4.   State v. Delgado (2013) 232 Ariz. 182 - Whether a witness is qualified as an expert is to be construed liberally.
5.   People v. Jackson (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1222 - Manual strangulation is not a matter of common knowledge and is proper subject of expert testimony.
6.   Nebraska v. Cox, 21 Neb. App. (2014) – Forensic nurse qualified as an expert in a strangulation case and her testimony was not subject to Daubert hearing.
7.   State v. Perry, 159 A.3d 840 (2017) - Forensic Nurse qualified and testified as a “blind witness”. Expert did not review any of facts of the case, did not give an opinion as to whether or not the victim had been strangled but simply testified about strangulation generically. 
8.   State v. Ritesman, 390 Mont. 399 (2018) – Expert permitted to testify about strangulation and trauma. Trauma victims often have difficulty providing a consistent, coherent narrative of an assault.
9.   State v. Hampton, 2018 WL 4055659 (Minnesota, Unpublished) - Prosecutor should have notified the defense attorney that officer who investigated the case had attended the Advanced Course on Strangulation Prevention and would have qualified as an expert due to his specialized training.
10. Kingsbury v. State, 625 S.W.3d 686 (2021, Texas) – Expert testimony from LCSW describing origin of various teaching and assessment tools and that such tools  were used throughout domestic violence field to explain victim's tolerance of her abusive relationship with defendant when, during her testimony, she appeared to try to minimize history of domestic violence in her relationship with defendant was reliable under standard applicable to soft sciences, in prosecution for domestic violence aggravated assault with deadly weapon. Expert’s qualifications included attending advanced course and FJC conferences. Victim was 22 on DA 20.
Thank you for all you do to help victims find hope and healing through your various responses in investigations, forensic exams, prosecutions, monitoring, counseling and advocacy. Your work matters.
With Great HOPE,
Gael Strack, CEO, Casey Gwinn, President, Joe Bianco, Fernanda Espana, Jessica Kimsey, and Jill Bring
This project is supported all or in part by Grant No. 2016-TA-AX-K067 awarded by the Office on Violence AgainstWomen, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department ofJustice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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