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Admissibility of Expert Testimony

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Danny Arthur Wright

Case No.: 2021AP001252-CR

Officials: Gill, J.

Focus: Admissibility of Expert Testimony

According to the criminal complaint, the victim informed law enforcement that she and Wright were at a casino, and, upon returning to Wright’s residence, Wright accused her of stealing some of his methamphetamine. As a result, Wright punched and kicked her, struck her with a metal broom handle, and “zapped” her with a ZAP Stick stun gun at least twenty-five times.

Wright appeals a judgment convicting him, following a jury trial, of three crimes, including first-degree sexual assault by use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon. Wright argues that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion by allowing a police detective to testify as an expert on stun guns, their relationship to Tasers, and their general effect on the human body. The State contends that the court properly exercised its discretion by allowing the detective’s testimony to be presented at trial. In the alternative, the State asserts that any error in permitting the detective’s expert testimony was harmless.

The appeals court concludes that the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion by allowing the detective to testify as an expert. The State offered the detective’s testimony as expositional expert testimony, and the court properly decided the issue on that basis. The appeals court therefore need not reach the harmless error issue.


Decided 05/16/23

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