690 So.2d 573 (Fla. 1997), 87574, Hadden v. State

Docket Nº87574, 87918.
Citation690 So.2d 573, 22 Fla. L. Weekly S 55
Party NameTimothy Ray HADDEN, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent. Richard BEAULIEU, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Case DateFebruary 06, 1997
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

Page 573

690 So.2d 573 (Fla. 1997)

22 Fla. L. Weekly S 55

Timothy Ray HADDEN, Petitioner,

v.

STATE of Florida, Respondent.

Richard BEAULIEU, Petitioner,

v.

STATE of Florida, Respondent.

Nos. 87574, 87918.

Supreme Court of Florida.

February 6, 1997

Rehearing Denied March 21, 1997.

Page 574

Nancy C. Daniels, Public Defender and P. Douglas Brinkmeyer, Assistant Public Defender, Chief, Appellate Intake and Kimberly A. Johnson, Florida State University College of Law, Certified Legal Intern, on behalf of Public Defender's Office, Second Judicial Circuit, Tallahassee, and William F. Jung of Black & Jung, P.A., Tampa, for Petitioners.

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General; James W. Rogers, Bureau Chief, Criminal Appeals and Carolyn J. Mosley, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Steven J. Guardiano, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Respondent.

WELLS, Justice.

We have for review the decisions of the First District Court of Appeal in Hadden v. State, 670 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (en banc), and the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Beaulieu v. State, 671 So.2d 807 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996), certifying the following question to be of great public importance:

IN VIEW OF THE SUPREME COURT'S HOLDING IN TOWNSEND V. STATE, DOES FLANAGAN V. STATE, REQUIRE APPLICATION OF THE FRYE STANDARD OF ADMISSIBILITY TO TESTIMONY BY A QUALIFIED PSYCHOLOGIST THAT THE ALLEGED VICTIM IN A SEXUAL ABUSE CASE EXHIBITS SYMPTOMS CONSISTENT WITH THOSE OF A CHILD WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED?

Hadden, 670 So.2d at 83; Beaulieu, 671 So.2d at 811. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We answer the certified

Page 575

question in the affirmative. In reaching this decision, we have been greatly aided by the thorough analysis of this issue in Judge Ervin's dissenting opinion in Hadden, Judge Harris's opinion in Beaulieu, and Judge Griffin's opinion in Toro v. State, 642 So.2d 78 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994). We hold that upon proper objection prior to the introduction of a psychologist's expert testimony offered to prove the alleged victim of sexual abuse exhibits symptoms consistent with one who has been sexually abused, the trial court must find that the psychologist's testimony is admissible under the standard for admissibility of novel scientific evidence announced in Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.Cir.1923), and adopted in Florida.

Further, we hold that at the present time, a psychologist's opinion that a child exhibits symptoms consistent with what has come to be known as "child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome" (CSAAS) 1 has not been proven by a preponderance of scientific evidence to be generally accepted by a majority of experts in psychology. Therefore, such opinions (which we will refer to as "syndrome testimony") may not be used in a criminal prosecution for child abuse. In such testimony, the expert (usually a psychologist by training) testifies on the basis of studies that children who have been sexually abused develop certain symptoms. For example, in Ward v. State, 519 So.2d 1082, 1083 n. 4 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988), the First District explained the three types of symptoms as

sexual behavior (suggestions of sexual activities, e.g., sexual play with toys); behavioral reactions (extreme passiveness or aggressiveness, changes in eating, underachievement); and emotional reactions (sleep disturbances, physical and depressive reactions).

The psychologist then links the type of syndrome symptoms to the child who is the victim in the case being tried.

Accordingly, we approve Hadden in part to the extent that the district court found the issue of the reliability of the expert opinion preserved, and we quash the remainder of the decision. We remand that case with directions that the case be remanded to the trial court for a new trial.

Likewise, we quash Beaulieu and remand for a determination of whether an objection to the admission of the expert's testimony was properly preserved below on the basis of the testimony not passing a Frye test and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Facts

Timothy Ray Hadden was charged by amended information with three counts of sexual battery on a person under twelve by vaginal penetration with his finger. During the trial, the State proffered out of the jury's presence opinion testimony from a mental health counselor concerning the symptoms and diagnostic criteria typically associated with sexually abused children. Hadden objected to this testimony on the basis that it lacked scientific reliability and that the expert failed to identify enough diagnostic criteria to give an adequate description of the victim's condition. The State argued that the evidence was admissible under Ward, in which the First District found similar testimony admissible as circumstantial evidence of sexual abuse. In Ward, the district court applied a three pronged analysis to determine the admissibility of this evidence: (1) the expert was qualified to express an opinion; (2) the subject area of child abuse was so developed to permit an expert to express an opinion; and (3) child abuse is not so well

Page 576

understood that a properly qualified expert would know more than a lay person. Id. at 1083. The trial court overruled Hadden's objection and allowed the expert to testify. Hadden was thereafter convicted of the lesser charge of lewd assault.

On appeal, the First District affirmed. Hadden v. State, 670 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (en banc). The court recognized our decision in Flanagan v. State, 625 So.2d 827 (Fla.1993), in which we reaffirmed the proposition that new and novel scientific evidence is inadmissible unless it meets the Frye test. This test requires that the scientific principles undergirding this evidence be found by the trial court to be generally accepted by the relevant members of its particular field. 2 Accordingly, the First District framed the issue in this case as whether the scientific expert testimony admitted below was new and novel so as to require Frye testing before its admission. Hadden at 82.

The district court ultimately concluded that for alternate reasons, the testimony in the case did not need to be subject to a Frye test. First, the district court turned to State v. Townsend, 635 So.2d 949, 958 (Fla.1994) (footnote omitted), in which we cited Ward in stating: "[I]f relevant, a medical expert witness may testify as to whether, in the expert's opinion, the behavior of a child is consistent with the behavior of a child who has been sexually abused." The district court reasoned that in view of this Court citing Ward with approval in Townsend this Court concluded that this type of expert testimony was not new or novel and did not require Frye testing. Hadden, 670 So.2d at 82. The district court distinguished our decision in Flanagan on the basis that Flanagan dealt with pedophile-profile evidence, while this case dealt with syndrome evidence. Hadden at 82. The district court found that the pedophile-profile evidence in Flanagan was condemned because the testimony was intended to and did identify the defendant as the likely perpetrator. Hadden. However, in this case, the district court found that the syndrome evidence at issue was innocuous by comparison because it only demonstrated circumstantially that sexual abuse had occurred at the time and place charged and it did not identify a likely perpetrator. Id. Again, the district court stated that it was led to this conclusion by the favorable cite to Ward in this Court's Townsend decision. Id. Alternatively, the district court found that even if the testimony was considered new or novel, the testimony in this case was couched in terms of the expert's training and experience and was thus opinion testimony not covered by Frye. Hadden at 82-83. Recognizing the potential for conflict, the court then certified the foregoing question. Id. at 83.

Judge Ervin dissented. Judge Ervin wrote that the parties were procedurally barred from claiming the evidence here was pure opinion testimony as defined in Flanagan, and even if properly before the appellate court, the testimony went beyond pure opinion testimony. Hadden at 85 (Ervin, J., dissenting). Further, Judge Ervin concluded from his analysis of the Florida appellate decisions on this issue that no appellate court had addressed the question of whether this type of evidence was admissible under Frye, but rather, the question had only been addressed as a question of relevance. Id. at 85-88. Consequently, this evidence needed to be examined in light of the record, scientific literature, and judicial decisions. Judge Ervin then set out his examination of whether such opinion testimony was generally accepted and concluded that this testimony was not accepted in its particular field as a diagnosis of sexual abuse. Id. at 88-91. Accordingly, Judge Ervin would have held that it was error to admit this testimony as substantive evidence because it bolstered the child's credibility, and he would have reversed the convictions. Id. at 91.

In the consolidated case, Richard Beaulieu was charged with various sex acts with a minor. At trial, the victim testified about being abused by the defendant, and this testimony was corroborated by the victim's own

Page 577

hearsay statements to others. Additionally, a psychologist testified that from his interviews with the child victim and the child's drawings and other tests, the victim fit the child-abuse profile. Beaulieu v. State, 671 So.2d 807 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996). While the Fifth District, like the First District in Hadden, affirmed the convictions on the authority of Townsend, the Fifth District noted that it agreed with Judge Ervin's analysis of the issue in Hadden. Beaulieu, 671 So.2d at 809-10. Judge Harris, in the court's unanimous opinion, expressly agreed that the syndrome testimony would not pass a Frye test. The district court then certified the...

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128 practice notes
  • 767 So.2d 637 (Fla.App. 5 Dist. 2000), 5D99-785, Westerheide v State
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals Fifth District
    • 29 Septiembre 2000
    ...Florida courts have consistently held that the Frye analysis does not apply to this type of expert testimony. See Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573 (Fla. 1997); Flanagan v. State, 625 So.2d 827 (Fla. 1993); Florida Power & Light Co. v. Tursi, 729 So.2d 995 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999). In Flanagan,......
  • 748 So.2d 1108 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2000), 3D96-2486, E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., Inc. v. Castillo
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals Third District
    • 9 Febrero 2000
    ...Murray v. State, 692 So.2d 157, 161 (Fla. 1997)(quoting Ramirez v. State, 651 So.2d 1164, 1168 (Fla. 1995)); see also Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573, 578 (Fla. 1997) ("[I]t is the function of the court to not permit cases to be resolved on the basis of evidence for which a predicate of......
  • 816 So.2d 1113 (Fla.App. 4 Dist. 2001), 4D01-1140, Holy Cross Hosp.
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals Fourth District
    • 19 Diciembre 2001
    ...on appeal that Dr. Sokol's testimony should have been subjected to a Frye hearing is reviewable by this court de novo. Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573 (Fla. 1997). Frye holds that in order to introduce expert testimony deduced from a scientific principle or discovery, the principle or discov......
  • 841 So.2d 532 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2003), 1D01-1609, Sybers v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals First District
    • 28 Febrero 2003
    ...in which it belongs.'" Flanagan v. State, 625 So.2d 827, 828 (Fla. 1993) (quoting Frye, 293 F. at 1014). Accord Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573, 577-78 (Fla. 1997); Ramirez v. State, 651 So.2d 1164, 1167 (Fla. 1995) (Ramirez II). Among other things, "this standard requires a determ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
111 cases
  • 802 So.2d 402 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2001), 3D99-2948, Lemour v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeal of Florida (US) Third District
    • 28 Noviembre 2001
    ...community. Such proof may include expert testimony, scientific and legal writings as well as judicial opinions. Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573, 578 (Fla.1997); E. I. DuPont De Nemours & Co. v. Castillo, 748 So.2d 1108, 1115 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000), review granted, No. SC00-490 (Fla. Aug. 31,......
  • 880 So.2d 1234 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2004), 1D03-1658, Roeling v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeal of Florida (US) First District
    • 30 Agosto 2004
    ...our supreme court has recognized need not pass the Frye test, citing Flanagan v. State, 625 So.2d 827 (Fla.1993), and Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573 (Fla.1997). The state also points out that a number of other jurisdictions that have considered this question have concluded that this type of......
  • EI DU PONT DE NEMOURS CO. v. CASTILLO, 021799 FLCA3, 962486
    • United States
    • 17 Febrero 1999
    ...Murray v. State, 692 So.2d 157, 161 (Fla.1997)(quoting Ramirez v. State, 651 So.2d 1164, 1168 (Fla.1995)); see also Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573, 578 (Fla.1997) ("[I]t is the function of the court to not permit cases to be resolved on the basis of evidence for which a predicate of re......
  • 767 So.2d 637 (Fla.App. 5 Dist. 2000), 5D99-785, Westerheide v State
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeal of Florida (US) Fifth District
    • 29 Septiembre 2000
    ...Florida courts have consistently held that the Frye analysis does not apply to this type of expert testimony. See Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573 (Fla. 1997); Flanagan v. State, 625 So.2d 827 (Fla. 1993); Florida Power & Light Co. v. Tursi, 729 So.2d 995 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999). In Flanagan,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 firm's commentaries
  • Supreme Court Of Florida Upholds The Frye Standard
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • 14 Noviembre 2018
    ...340 (Fla. 1952); Bundy v. State, 471 So. 2d 9, 13 (Fla. 1985); Stokes v. State, 548 So. 2d 188, 195 (Fla. 1989); and Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573 (Fla. [5] 509 U.S. 579 (1993). [6]Brim v. State, 695 So. 2d 268 (Fla. 1997) (citing Stokes v. State, 548 So. 2d 188 (Fla. 1989)). [7]Richard D......
  • Growing Pains: The Story Behind Florida’s Daubert Arc – Part 1
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • 2 Julio 2019
    ...opinions. More thoughtful discussions and reaffirmations were later issued in Brim v. State, 695 So.2d 268 (Fla. 1997), Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573 (Fla. 1997) and Castillo v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 864 So.2d 1264 (Fla. 2003). In Castillo, the Supreme Court interpreted the fir......
  • Supreme Court Of Florida Upholds The Frye Standard
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • 19 Noviembre 2018
    ...340 (Fla. 1952); Bundy v. State, 471 So. 2d 9, 13 (Fla. 1985); Stokes v. State, 548 So. 2d 188, 195 (Fla. 1989); and Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 1997). 5 509 U.S. 579 (1993). 6Brim v. State, 695 So. 2d 268 (Fla. 1997) (citing Stokes v. State, 548 So. 2d 188 (Fla. 1989)). 7Richard ......
13 books & journal articles
  • GSB Vol. 6, No. 1 - #1. The Harper Standard and The Alcosensor: The Road Not Traveled.
    • United States
    • Georgia Bar Journal Nbr. 2001, January 2001
    • 1 Enero 2001
    ...statutory scheme or case law governing alcosensors. See id. 51. Frye v. U's., 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923). 52. Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 1997); Ex parte Alabama, 746 So. 2d 355 (Ala. 1998). 53. Harper, 249 Ga. at 525, 292 S.E.2d. at 395 (1982). 54. J. R. PARTINGT......
  • Jury instructions, not problematic expert testimony, in child sexual assault cases.
    • United States
    • Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy Nbr. 11, January 2006
    • 1 Enero 2006
    ...that does not permit expert testimony in child sexual assault prosecutions, but over concerns of scientific reliability. Hadden v. State, 690 So.2d 573, 574-75 (Fla. 1997) (stating "syndrome testimony" may not be admitted in criminal prosecutions for child abuse and reaffirming th......
  • Waiting for John Doe: the practical and constitutional implications of DNA indictments.
    • United States
    • Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy Vol. 18 Nbr. 1, February - February 2013
    • 1 Febrero 2013
    ...(Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1988) (noting it was first appellate court to address admissibility of DNA evidence), overruled by Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573, 577 (Fla. 1997); see also George Bundy Smith & Janet A. Gordon, The Admission of DNA Evidence in State and Federal Courts, 65 Fordham ......
  • Navigating expert reliability: are criminal standards of certainty being left on the dock?
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 64 Nbr. 1, September 2000
    • 22 Septiembre 2000
    ...expert's testimony that the victim has "child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome" has both effects. (86) See Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573, 575 (Fla. 1997) (holding that CSAAS testimony has not been proven to be generally accepted by a majority of experts, and deeming it inadmi......
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