State v. Bishop, 241 N.C. App. 545 (Jun. 16, 2015)

rev’d on other grounds, 368 N.C. 869 (Jun. 10, 2016)

In this cyberbullying case based on electronic messages, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing the investigating detective to testify that while investigating the case, he took screen shots of anything that appeared to be evidence of cyberbullying. The defendant argued that the detective’s testimony was inadmissible opinion testimony regarding the defendant’s guilt. The detective testified about what he found on Facebook and about the course of his investigation. When asked how he searched for electronic comments concerning the victim, he explained that examined the suspects’ online pages and “[w]henever I found anything that appeared to have been to me cyber-bullying I took a screen shot of it.” He added that “[i]f it appeared evidentiary, I took a screen shot of it.” This testimony was not proffered as an opinion of the defendant’s guilt; it was rationally based on the detective’s perception and was helpful in presenting to the jury a clear understanding of his investigative process and thus admissible under Rule 701.