Pennsylvania’s New Victim Behavior Expert Testimony Statute Upheld: Commonwealth v. Olivo

On November 18, 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. This article reviews the facts of the case and discusses its implications for highlighting the important role of expert testimony in aiding juries to reach just verdicts, unhindered by myths and misconceptions about how “real” victims would behave. Pennsylvanias-New-Victim-Behavior-Expert-Testimony-Statute-Upheld-Commonwealth-v.-Olivo-SIB25