State v. Barker, ___ N.C. App. ___, 809 S.E.2d 171 (Dec. 19, 2017)

The trial court did not err by admitting an officer’s testimony about the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. At trial, the North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper who responded to a call regarding a vehicle accident was tendered as an expert in HGN testing. The defendant objected to the Trooper being qualified as an expert. After a voir dire the trial court overruled the defendant’s objection and the Trooper was permitted to testify. On appeal, the defendant argued that the witness failed to provide the trial court with the necessary foundation to establish the reliability of the HGN test. Citing Godwin and Younts (holding that Evidence Rule 702(a1) obviates the State’s need to prove that the HGN testing method is sufficiently reliable), the court determined that such a finding “is simply unnecessary.”