State v. Earls, 234 N.C. App. 186 (Jun. 3, 2014)

(1) The trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing the prosecution to use leading questions when examining a child sexual assault victim. The prosecutor was attempting to ask a 14-year-old victim questions about her father’s sexual conduct toward her. She was very reluctant to testify. The prosecutor repeatedly urged the victim to tell the truth, regardless of what her answer would be. The prosecutor attempted to refresh her recollection with her prior statements, but she still refused to specify what the defendant did. The court concluded: “Leading questions were clearly necessary here to develop the witness’s testimony.” (2) The trial court did not err by allowing the prosecutor to ask a 14-year-old child sexual assault victim to write down what the defendant did to her and then allowing the prosecutor to read the note to the jury. Although the child answered some questions, she was reluctant to verbally answer the prosecutor’s question about what the defendant did to her. The prosecutor then asked the victim to write down the answer to the question. The victim wrote that the defendant penetrated her vaginally.