Campbell v. State, A21A1812

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtReese, Judge.
Citation868 S.E.2d 471,362 Ga.App. 337
Parties CAMPBELL v. The STATE.
Docket NumberA21A1812
Decision Date21 January 2022

362 Ga.App. 337
868 S.E.2d 471

CAMPBELL
v.
The STATE.

A21A1812

Court of Appeals of Georgia.

January 21, 2022


Gregory Davis Smith, for Appellant.

Joseph Kenneth Mulholland, Moruf Olalere Oseni, for Appellee.

Reese, Judge.

868 S.E.2d 473
362 Ga.App. 337

A jury found David Campbell guilty of incest, rape, aggravated child molestation, child molestation, and reckless conduct.1 On appeal, Campbell argues that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his request to redact portions of a video deposition and in excluding impeachment evidence regarding the victim's claims about her purported YouTube channel. For the reasons set forth infra, we affirm.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict,2 the record shows the following. In June 2017, Campbell's then 14-year-old daughter, S. M. C., told Dana Wilson — the wife of the pastor at S. M. C.’s church — that Campbell had abused S. M. C. and forced her to perform sexual acts with him. S. M. C. told Wilson that Campbell wanted her for three things: "[c]ooking, cleaning, and sex." S. M. C. testified at trial that Campbell had forced her to engage in sexual intercourse, oral sex, and other sexual acts starting from when she was 12 years old. Wilson informed law enforcement, and S. M. C. made the same disclosure to others, including a forensic interviewer, a sexual assault nurse examiner, and sheriff's department investigator Charles Griffin, all of whom testified at trial.

After Campbell's conviction, the trial court denied his motion for new trial, and this appeal followed.

The admission of evidence lies within the sound discretion of the trial court, and we will not disturb the trial court's decision on appeal absent a clear abuse of discretion.3 With this guiding principle in mind, we now turn to Campbell's claims of error.

1. Campbell argues that the trial court erred in rejecting his request to redact the portions of a video deposition regarding whether S. M. C. was malingering and lying during the clinical tests, because the opinion went to the issue of S. M. C.’s truthfulness and constituted improper bolstering.

During the State's investigation of the case, Dr. Destin Stewart, a licensed psychologist, conducted a psychological investigation of S. M. C. in order to establish information regarding her mental health and general functioning. Dr. Stewart testified via a video-recorded sworn deposition at trial about her findings from the evaluation. Prior to playing the video, Campbell objected to the following exchange

362 Ga.App. 338

because he contended that it went to the credibility of S. M. C.’s allegations:

DR. STEWART: [in discussing how a child might endorse several symptoms as a "cry for help"] It's not what we would consider malingering, by any means, because if it was malingering meaning lying or trying to make themselves appear much worse than they are. Because in that case the results would have been invalid and the tests will tell you that.

...

THE STATE: Malingering, it now is a clinical term, it basically means lying, over-exaggerating something. And you did not see any symptoms of malingering in the assessments with [S. M. C.]?

DR. STEWART: No, I did not.

THE STATE: Okay.

...

THE STATE: You didn't see any signs or symptoms of malingering in [the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory test], did you?

DR. STEWART: No.

THE STATE: Or any of the particular tests, quite frankly?

DR. STEWART: No.

The trial court overruled the objection that followed and allowed the jury to consider this exchange.

The credibility of a witness is an issue for the trier of fact.4 "Thus, a witness's credibility is exclusively a matter for the jury, and in no circumstance may a witness's credibility be bolstered by the opinion of another, even an expert, as to whether the

868 S.E.2d 474

witness is telling the truth."5 However, "expert opinion testimony that bolsters the credibility of the indicted allegations of sexual abuse is not inadmissible on the ground that it indirectly reflects positively on the victim's credibility."6

[T]here is a world of legal difference between expert testimony that "in my opinion, the victim's psychological exam was consistent with sexual abuse," and expert testimony that "in my opinion, the victim was sexually abused." In the first situation, the expert leaves the ultimate issue/conclusion
362 Ga.App. 339
for the jury to decide; in the second, the weight of the expert is put behind a factual conclusion which invades the province of the jury by providing a direct answer to the ultimate issue: was the victim sexually abused?7

...

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1 practice notes
  • Spann v. Davis, A20A0202
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 21 January 2022
    ...Ga.App. 328868 S.E.2d 471 (Mem)SPANNv.DAVIS, et al.A20A0202Court of Appeals of Georgia.January 21, 2022Cary S. Wiggins, Atlanta, for Appellant.Sarah Jennifer Rasalam, for Appellee. Rickman, Chief Judge.In Spann v. Davis et al., 866 S.E.2d 371 (2021), the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed in......
1 cases
  • Spann v. Davis, A20A0202
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 21 January 2022
    ...Ga.App. 328868 S.E.2d 471 (Mem)SPANNv.DAVIS, et al.A20A0202Court of Appeals of Georgia.January 21, 2022Cary S. Wiggins, Atlanta, for Appellant.Sarah Jennifer Rasalam, for Appellee. Rickman, Chief Judge.In Spann v. Davis et al., 866 S.E.2d 371 (2021), the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed in......

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