Supreme Court rules out experts’ opinions to determine guilt in sex abuse cases

Jul 12, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court says prosecutors in criminal cases cannot rely on experts to testify on how often children typically lie or tell the truth about sex abuse. 

The court says juries were swayed by opinions, not the facts, in two individual cases. It ruled that sexual abuse trials are not credibility contests where juries determine who is most likely telling the truth.

In two unanimous opinions, the justices agreed prosecutors have to prove a crime with physical evidence, not the opinions of experts who said children almost always tell the truth about alleged sexual abuse. The experts in what’s called “probable pediatric sex abuse” said their studies show children don’t tell the truth about abuse in just 1 to 3 percent of the cases they looked at.

Both of these court cases are from Allegan County. The Supreme Court said the defendants are entitled to new trials.