Commonwealth v. Olivo, No. 127 MAP 2014, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Brief of Amicus Curiae

In 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided Commonwealth v. Olivo, upholding, against state constitutional attack, the new Pennsylvania evidentiary statute permitting expert testimony to explain victim behavior in the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence. Previously, the courts of Pennsylvania had steadfastly resisted admission of such testimony, despite the widespread acceptance of such evidence by other courts across the country. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape submitted this amicus curiae brief, with contributions by AEquitas Attorney Advisor Teresa M. Garvey, in support of the statute’s constitutionality. The brief highlights the value of expert testimony to explain victim behavior so that jurors do not base their credibility assessments on myths and misconceptions.