from the Superior Court in Coconino County No.
S0300CR201401006 The Honorable Jacqueline Hatch, Judge
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Robert A.
Walsh Counsel for Appellee
Coconino County Public Defender's Office, Flagstaff By
Brad Bransky Counsel for Appellant
Patricia A. Orozco delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen and Judge Kenton D.
Mark Haskie, Jr. (Defendant) appeals his convictions and
sentences for two counts of aggravated assault - domestic
violence, five counts of aggravated domestic violence, two
counts of influencing a witness, and one count of kidnapping.
For the following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Officer Jordheim of the Flagstaff Police Department responded
to a 911 call regarding domestic violence at a motel. At the
motel, Officer Jordheim met a female, P.J., whose "eyes
were swollen, pretty well bruised [with] various bruises and
abrasions on her body and neck." P.J. told Officer
Jordheim that Defendant caused her injuries after going
through her cell phone and threatening "I told you I
would kill you if you cheated on me."
That same day, P.J. hand-wrote a statement at Officer
Jordheim's invitation, explaining
[Defendant] . . . beat me so bad in the face and other places
in my body. He strangled me with a belt and also my [d]uffle
bag [strap].... He hit me so hard he loosen[ed] my front
tooth. . . . When I was being strangled I couldn't
breath[e] at all. . . . And this time I thought I was going
to die and he kept saying why don't you just die.
also collected physical evidence from the motel room where
P.J. and Defendant had been staying, including a belt,
luggage strap, bloodied pillows and items belonging to
Defendant was arrested nearly a year later. Shortly after the
arrest, P.J. wrote two letters to the prosecutor recanting
her earlier statement to police. In those letters, P.J.
explained that she was drinking heavily at the time and
suggested that her injuries occurred in a bar fight that she
could not remember. She said she lied to police and took
"full responsibility for [her] actions against
[Defendant.]" She further stated that Defendant was
innocent, and she would not testify against him because the
charges were false.
Before trial, the State filed a motion in limine asking the
court to admit testimony by Dr. Ferraro, its expert witness
on domestic violence. The State intended to call Dr. Ferraro
as a "cold" expert on domestic violence to help the
jury understand why "[P.J. had] continued her
relationship with the defendant, [had] given conflicting
statements while the case has been pending, and [was]
reluctant to testify[.]" Defendant objected to Dr.
Ferraro's testimony, arguing it would constitute improper
profile evidence and vouching. In reply, the State agreed to
limit Dr. Ferraro's testimony to only "the
victim's behaviors and the common reactions and coping
strategies victims use in response to a violent
incident" that might be misunderstood by a jury. The
State also proposed a list of questions it intended to ask
Dr. Ferraro at trial. Following a hearing, the trial court
permitted Dr. Ferraro's testimony, but limited the
examination to the State's proposed questions.
During its opening statement at trial, the State mentioned
Dr. Ferraro's testimony, stating "you're going
to hear from Dr. Kathleen Ferraro, who is an expert in
domestic violence . . . [and she'll] tell you that
it's not unusual for a victim to later change their story
or to even help make a case go away."
At trial, Officer Jordheim testified about responding to the
911 call, and the State presented photos of the motel room,
items found in the motel room and P.J.'s injuries. The
State also presented recorded phone calls Defendant made from
jail, including to P.J. before she recanted. In these
conversations, Defendant dictated to P.J. an exculpatory
story, and asked P.J. and other family members to write
statements corroborating the story. Defendant also apologized
to P.J., told her she was the only person that could get him
out of jail and promised to marry her when he was released.
Defendant suggested that if P.J. did not cooperate with
police, the charges against him would be dropped. During one
call, P.J. said, "well maybe you shouldn't have
tried to kill me. . . . You know exactly what you did."
Dr. Ferraro testified that she was a "cold or
blind" expert, meaning she had not reviewed any of the
police reports in the case and was not going to testify about
any of the particulars of the events in the case. The
prosecutor asked a series of questions regarding
characteristics of domestic violence victims. When asked,
"is it unusual for someone who has been hurt by an
intimate partner to return to that relationship [, ]"
Dr. Ferraro responded, "[i]t's not unusual. It is
very common." She continued, "[t]here are many
reasons [why, ] and they vary by the individual, of course,
and the type of relationship." Dr. Ferraro explained
that some victims of domestic violence return to their
abusers out of fear, retaliation, or threats. Other victims
do not leave their abusers because of pressure from extended
family or the victim's own shame. Dr. Ferraro further
testified that chemical dependency and alcohol abuse
complicate the decision about staying in an abusive
The prosecutor then asked "do victims ever tend to blame
themselves for what happened?" Dr. Ferraro responded:
Yes. That's a very common response of victims of domestic