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State v. Lopez, 2018 UT 5 (Feb. 9, 2018).

Feb 9, 2018

The criminal defendant appealed his murder conviction, arguing the district court erred by admitting the State’s expert testimony and in admitting evidence of prior acts.  The Supreme Court reversed, agreeing on both counts.  With respect to the expert testimony, the Court held the district court abused its discretion in admitting the State’s expert testimony about whether the victim was suicidal.  The State had not satisfied its threshold burden of demonstrating the method of evaluating suicidal risk used by the expert was generally accepted as a means of assessing the risk of suicide in someone who had passed away or that it was reliable when used to assess suicide risk post-mortem.