The Arizona Supreme Court will continue to permit experts to testify about general tendencies of domestic violence victims and abusers but says trial judges must be very careful to not allow evidence that could profile defendants as offenders.
A ruling Tuesday upholding convictions in a man's Coconino County case says careful scrutiny is needed to avoid undue prejudice against defendants.
The ruling says that's because testimony about characteristics of offenders could imply a defendant is guilty, even if that testimony is part of a description of a victim's behavior.
But the ruling also says expert testimony explaining a victim's seemingly inconsistent behavior can help jurors evaluate the victim's credibility.
The ruling says trial judges should consider each part of an expert's testimony as well as the testimony as a whole.