New York State Court of Appeals
Hypothetical Questions — Bolstering Proof
People v. Williams
Background: The defendant was charged with various sex crimes pertaining to separate incidents involving 12-year-old girls. At trial the people presented the testimony of an expert witness on the subject of child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals held that the expert’s testimony was not adequately limited because certain hypothetical questions posed by the prosecutor improperly bolstered the people’s proof that the defendant was the perpetrator. However, as the evidence of guilt was overwhelming, the error was harmless.
Kendra L. Hutchinson for the appellant; Ruth E. Ross for the respondent