Court did not commit error in excluding defense expert's testimony regarding false confessions

Written By: Reid
Jun 01, 2009
Wright v. State S09A0324 (04/28/09)

HEADNOTE: The Supreme Court vacated Kayla R. Wright's aggravated assault conviction, holding that the charge merged as a matter of fact with Wright's malice murder conviction. However, the Court affirmed Wright's convictions for murder and concealing the death of her newborn infant, holding that the trial court did not err in excluding a defense expert's testimony based on Wright's failure to comply with discovery requirements and her failure to satisfy the evidentiary test in criminal cases with regard to the false confession theory and the Reid method. The Court also held that, under the totality of the circumstances, the trial court did not err in admitting Wright's confession that her baby was breathing and whimpering after birth; the physical evidence, witnesses testimony regarding Wright's comments, appearance and behavior after the baby's birth and her statements supported her convictions; the trial court properly allowed the medical examiner to opine on the cause and manner of the baby's death, based on the investigative history and his autopsy findings; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in giving curative instructions, rather than granting a mistrial, after the state referred to a non-existent live-birth certificate when questioning a witness; and Wright failed to show that her defense counsel were deficient.
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