State v. Jensen

In State v. Jensen, 147 Wis. 2d 240, 257, 432 N.W.2d 913 (1988), the expert witness went one step further, comparing the alleged victim's behavior with behavior common to child victims of sexual abuse. There, the defendant argued that the jury must be allowed to draw its own comparison to determine whether the alleged victim's behavior was consistent with behavior common among victims of sexual abuse. See Jensen, 147 Wis. 2d at 252-53. In approving the expert witness's testimony, the court stated that it "[did] not find that difference to be legally significant." Id. at 253. Rather the court noted that, "expert testimony on the post-assaultive behavior of a sexual assault victim is admissible in certain cases to help explain the meaning of that behavior." Id. at 250. The Court noted that, despite the behavioral comparisons drawn by the expert witness, ultimately the jury was free to draw its own inferences from the expert's testimony and was free to accept or reject that testimony as it saw fit. See Jensen, 147 Wis. 2d at 255. The court concluded that "the expert testimony in this case was not tantamount to an opinion that the complainant ... was telling the truth." Id. at 255-56.