State v. Harris, 221 N.C. App. 548 (Jul. 17, 2012)

(1) The defendant’s confrontation rights were not violated when the State’s expert testified about DNA testing on the victim’s rape kit done by a non-testifying trainee. The trainee worked under the testifying expert’s direct observation and supervision and the findings were his own. (2) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his constitutional rights were violated when a second DNA expert testified that she matched a DNA extract on a specimen taken from the defendant to the profile obtained from the rape kit. Having found that the first expert properly testified about the rape kit profile, the court rejected this argument. (3) No violation of the defendant’s confrontation clause rights occurred when the second expert testified that the probability of an unrelated, randomly chosen person who could not be excluded from the DNA mixture taken from the rape kit was extremely low. The defendant argued that the population geneticists who made the probability determination were unavailable for cross-examination about the reliability of their statistical methodology. The court concluded that admission of the statistical information was not error where the second expert was available for cross-examination and gave her opinion that the DNA profile from the rape kit matched the defendant’s DNA profile and the statistical information on which she relied was of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field. Even assuming that unavailability of the purported population geneticists who prepared the statistical data violated the defendant’s rights, the error did not rise to the level of plain error.