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Home / Courts / Criminal Practice – Evidence – Expert Witness – Pathologist – Manner of Death – Jury Instructions (access required)

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Expert Witness – Pathologist – Manner of Death – Jury Instructions (access required)

State v. Commander Since the prosecution’s pathologist did not testify as to the defendant’s state of mind, he was correctly permitted to testify as to his determination that the manner of death was homicide. As modified, we affirm the Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the circuit court’s rulings. A medical examiner is required to determine both the “cause of death” - “the agent that has directly or indirectly resulted in a death,” S.C. Code Ann. § 17-5-5(2) - and the “manner of death” - natural, accidental, homicidal, suicidal, or undetermined. S.C. Code Ann. § 17-5-5(9). In this context, the testimony that an individual died from “homicide” means simply that she died “by the act, procurement, or omission of another” without regard to the criminality of the killing or culpability of the killer.

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