Janaury 23, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinion

State v Kromah

At Kromah’s trial for child abuse, she objected to testimony from two state investigators who stated that the three year old child victim made a compelling case for abuse. The trial court sustained some of her objections and overruled others. The Court of Appeals held the issue of the state investigator testimony was unpreserved. The Court affirmed in result. It held the issues were preserved as the trial court made a ruling in limine just before the investigators’ testimony which constituted a final ruling and the objections in the context of the testimony were related to that ruling. The Court held that the law enforcement witness did not share anything the victim said, based his decision to arrest on the totality of the circumstances and in any event the statements made by the child were likely excited utterances. As to the forensic interviewer, the Court declared the term a misnomer and further declared that forensic interviewers should never be qualified as expert witnesses. It further held that even expert witnesses are not allowed to vouch for the veracity of other witnesses including victims of child abuse. The Court gave nonexhaustive lists of what forensic investigators may testify to and what they may not. Based on the foregoing, the Court held the statements by the investigator should not have been admitted. However, the Court held the error was harmless in light of the overwhelming medical testimony that the injury to the child could not have occurred as Kromah described.

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