Idaho v. AndersonAnnotate this Case
Defendant-appellant Darol Anderson appealed his convictions for felony domestic battery and misdemeanor domestic battery. Anderson argued the district court erred when it admitted the preliminary hearing testimony of his alleged victim, Erica Messerly, after finding that she was unavailable to testify at his trial due to mental illness. Anderson also argued that the district court abused its discretion when it allowed Officer Spencer Mortensen to testify that the injuries that he had observed on Messerly’s person were consistent with her allegations against Anderson; he argued this testimony constituted impermissible vouching for Messerly’s truthfulness. Unavailability due to mental illness was an issue of first impression for the Idaho Supreme Court. The Court determined two experts’ testimony were not sufficient evidence to establish that Messerly’s mental illness made her unavailable to testify, so the district court erred when it granted the motion in limine to allow her prehearing testimony to be read at trial. The district court did not abuse its discretion, however, by admitting Officer Mortensen’s testimony. Therefore, the district court’s judgment was vacated in part and affirmed in part.