State v. Obeta. MN Criminal Law, Expert testimony

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: Criminal Law, Expert testimony.

State v. Obeta. MN Criminal Law, Expert testimony

In criminal sexual conduct case in which defendant argues that conduct was consensual, the district court has discretion to admit expert testimony as to typicality of delayed reporting, lack of physical injuries, and submissive conduct by victim. The evidence must be helpful to the jury, and the opinion has foundational reliability. State v. Saldana, 324 N.W.2d 227 (Minn. 1982), does not operate as a blanket prohibition of such testimony.

Expert testimony is admissible because "the mental and physical reactions of an adult sexual assault victim may lie outside the common understanding of an average juror."

Since the trial court erred in holding that Saldana was a blanket prohibition, the case is remanded to determine whether the evidence is admissible.

No. A10-1349, 796 N.W.2d 282(Minn. Mar 24, 2011).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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