New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion on Admissibility of Expert Testimony

The Tennessee Supreme Court has just released an opinion reversing the ruling of a trial judge who excluded the testimony of a sleep expert in a criminal case.  The defendant alleged that he did not have the criminal intent to commit sexual acts with his stepdaughter because he was asleep at the time and was not aware of what he was doing.   The expert diagnosed the defendant with sleep parasomnia.

The opinion contains a comprehensive summary of the law of admissibility of expert opinion testimony in Tennessee.  Of course, it will be important in future criminal and civil cases.

The case is State v. Scott,  M2007-02024-SC-S09-CO  (Tenn. 1/23/09).  The opinion was authored by Justice Koch.  Read it here.