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2012-UP-222 - State v. Gregory

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

The State, Respondent,

v.

Lonnie Wayne Gregory, Appellant.


Appeal From Lancaster County
 Brooks P. Goldsmith, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-222
Heard January 10, 2012 – Filed April 11, 2012


AFFIRMED


Elizabeth A. Franklin-Best, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John McIntosh, Assistant Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Assistant Attorney General William M. Blitch, Jr., all of Columbia; and Solicitor Douglas A. Barfield, Jr., of Lancaster, for Respondent.

FEW, C.J.: Lonnie Wayne Gregory appeals his conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.  He argues the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony from a forensic interviewer because it improperly bolstered the victim's credibility.  We find Gregory's arguments unpreserved and without merit and affirm his conviction.

At trial, Gregory objected when the State offered a forensic interviewer as an expert witness.  He argued the interviewer should not be allowed to testify as an expert and, even if she were allowed to testify, she should not be allowed to testify about the victim's credibility.  The judge ruled against Gregory as to his first argument by qualifying the interviewer as an expert witness.  However, the judge ruled in favor of Gregory as to his second argument by ruling that the interviewer could not testify as to whether she believed the victim.  The interviewer's testimony Gregory complains about on appeal relates to the victim's credibility.  See, e.g., State v. Jennings, 394 S.C. 473, 480, 716 S.E.2d 91, 94 (2011) ("There is no other way to interpret the language used . . . other than to mean the forensic interviewer believed the children were being truthful."); State v. McKerley, Op. No. 4957 (S.C. Ct. App. filed March 28, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 11 at 41).  The trial court ruled it would exclude such testimony, but Gregory failed to object to the testimony when it was offered into evidence.  Therefore, his argument is not preserved.  State v. Baker, 390 S.C. 56, 65, 700 S.E.2d 440, 444 (Ct. App. 2010) (stating an issue must be raised to and ruled upon by the trial court to be preserved for review), cert. granted, (Nov. 17, 2011).

Gregory also contends the court erred in allowing the interviewer to testify as an expert based solely on State v. Douglas, 380 S.C. 499, 671 S.E.2d 606 (2009).  We disagree and find, as in Douglas, that the decision to allow the interviewer to testify as an expert did not prejudice Gregory.  380 S.C. at 503, 671 S.E.2d at 608-09 ("Douglas suffered no prejudice . . . by her qualification as an expert."); 380 S.C. at 503, 671 S.E.2d at 609 ("The fact that [the interviewer] was qualified as an expert did not require the jury to accord her testimony any greater weight than that given to any other witness."). 

The conviction is AFFIRMED.

THOMAS and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.