State v. Martinez, ___ N.C. App. ___, 801 S.E.2d 356 (May. 16, 2017)

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court erred by excluding evidence which tended to show the victim’s mother’s bias against the defendant. After concluding that the defendant failed to preserve his challenges with respect to three pieces of impeachment evidence, the court concluded that exclusion of impeachment evidence that the mother had previously accused the defendant of domestic abuse constituted error. The evidence at issue showed that the mother had accused the defendant of domestic violence, that the police declined to prosecute, that she subsequently took out a private warrant, and that she failed to prosecute those charges. The court agreed that exclusion of this evidence was error, explaining: “Evidence that Mother had accused Defendant of domestic violence could have indicated Mother’s bias against Defendant and may have influenced the jury’s assessment of her credibility as a witness.” However, considering the entire record, the court went on to conclude that there was no reasonable possibility that had the jury heard the evidence a different result would have been reached at trial.