An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA04-1659


Filed: 18 October 2005


v .                         Allegheny County
                            02 CRS 50380

    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 24 June 2004 by Judge Michael E. Helms in the Superior Court in Allegheny County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 25 August 2005.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General Diane A. Reeves, for the State.

    J. Clark Fischer, for defendant-appellant.

    HUDSON, Judge.

    Defendant Dewey Franklin Edwards was tried non-capitally for first-degree murder at the 21 June 2004 criminal session of the superior court in Allegheny County. The jury convicted him of voluntary manslaughter, and the court sentenced him to 115 to 147 months in prison. Defendant appeals. As discussed below, we see no error.
    The evidence tended to show that Deputies Brian Maines and Steven Lee Carrier of the Allegheny County Sheriff's Department responded to a call about a shooting at defendant's residence at 1 A.M. on 11 October 2002. Deputy Carrier found decedent Edward Whitaker lying face down with defendant lying at his feet. SpecialAgent Lloyd Terry testified about his interview of defendant. Defendant, decedent, and two other men, Robert Blevins and Robey Gravely, were drinking and arguing at defendant's home. Defendant first claimed that he had gone to his bedroom, when he heard gunshots and came into the living room to see Blevins and Gravely fleeing the house. Defendant later admitted that he had shot decedent, after decedent attacked him and struck him in the head with an axe handle. Dr. Donald Jason testified as an expert in forensic pathology and reviewed the report and notes on the autopsy of decedent, which had been conducted by another physician. Special Agent Brenda Bissette, an expert in forensic DNA analysis, testified about bloodstains found at defendant's residence, based on the testing performed by another agent.
    Defendant's sole argument on appeal is that the court erred in allowing the State to present what he asserts was hearsay evidence from Dr. Jason and Special Agent Bissette. We disagree.
    Defendant contends that the testimony from these two experts violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers, citing Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177 (2004). Crawford restates and reinforces the Confrontation Clause bar on the admission of “testimonial statements of a witness who did not appear at trial unless he was unavailable to testify, and the defendant had had a prior opportunity for cross-examination.” Id. at 53-4, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 194. However, the Crawford opinion also makes clear that “[w]here nontestimonial hearsay is at issue, it is wholly consistent with the Framers' design to afford the Statesflexibility in their development of hearsay law . . . .” Id. at 68, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 203.
    This Court has already held Crawford inapplicable where one SBI agent testified about the results of analysis conducted by another agent, on the grounds that an expert is entitled to rely on such materials for the purpose of forming his or her opinion on the issue at hand. State v. Walker, __ N.C. App. __, 613 S.E.2d 330, 333 (2005). “An expert may properly base his or her opinion on tests performed by another person, if the tests are of the type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field.” State v. Fair, 354 N.C. 131, 162, 557 S.E.2d 500, 522 (2001) (“It is the expert opinion itself, not its underlying factual basis, that constitutes substantive evidence.”), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1114, 153 L. Ed. 2d 162, 122 S. Ct. 2332 (2002). Moreover, “[i]nherently reliable information is admissible to show the basis for an expert's opinion, even if the information would otherwise be inadmissible hearsay.” State v. Daughtry, 340 N.C. 488, 511, 459 S.E.2d 747, 758 (1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1079, 133 L. Ed. 2d 739 (1996). The admission of such expert testimony does not violate the Confrontation Clause. State v. Huffstetler, 312 N.C. 92, 107, 322 S.E.2d 110, 120 (1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1009, 85 L. Ed. 2d 169 (1985).
    Here, both Agent Bissette and Dr. Jason were expert witnesses, testifying on the basis of information of a type reasonably relied by experts in their fields and on tests performed by other people. The test results, notes, reports and other material relied on byAgent Bissette and Dr. Jason in their testimony were nontestimonial in nature and thus not implicated by Crawford. Because defendant had full opportunity to cross-examine each of the experts who testified against him, his constitutional rights under the Confrontation Clause were not violated.
    No error.
    Judges TIMMONS-GOODSON and ELMORE concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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