State v Walston, 367 N.C. 721 (Dec. 19, 2014)

Based on long-standing precedent, the trial court’s use of the term “victim” in the jury instructions was not impermissible commentary on a disputed issue of fact and the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request to use the words “alleged victim” instead of “victim” in the jury charge in this child sexual abuse case. The court continued:

We stress, however, when the State offers no physical evidence of injury to the complaining witnesses and no corroborating eyewitness testimony, the best practice would be for the trial court to modify the pattern jury instructions at defendant’s request to use the phrase “alleged victim” or “prosecuting witness” instead of “victim.”