State v. Livengood, 206 N.C. App. 746 (Sept. 7, 2010)

In a child sexual abuse case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by overruling a defense objection to a response by the State’s expert. On direct examination, the expert testified that the child’s physical examination revealed no signs of trauma to the hymen. On cross-examination, she opined, without objection, that her physical findings could be consistent with rape or with no rape. On recross-examination, defense counsel asked: “And the medical aspects of this case physically are that there are no showings of any rape; correct?” The witness responded: “There’s no physical findings which do not rule out her disclosure, sir.” The trial judge overruled a defense objection to this response. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the expert’s answer impermissibly commented on the victim’s credibility, concluding that the expert’s response was consistent with her prior testimony that her physical findings were consistent with rape or no rape.