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State v. Parillo, 480 A.2d 1349 (R.I. 1984). In a murder trial, defendant attempted to cross-examine the state’s only witness to the murder as to her motive for testifying, specifically that she was protecting her husband from prosecution. The trial judge’s limitation of cross-examination was deemed reversible error.
State v. Olsen, 610 A.2d 1099 (R.I. 1992). In a trial for breaking and entering, the trial court refused to allow the defense to cross-examine state’s chief witness about her prior involvement with a boyfriend and their participation in a break-in in Warwick. This restriction violated defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers. R.I.S.C. vacated and remanded.
State v. Beaumier, 480 A.2d 1367 (R.I. 1984). This was a robbery trial where the state’s primary witness was a Providence Police officer and friend of the defendant. According to this officer, defendant admitted to him his participation in the robbery. Defense counsel attempted to cross-examine the officer as to thefts at a lumberyard in which the officer was a suspect and under investigation. Counsel was attempting to show that the officer had a motive to fabricate defendant’s admission in order to ingratiate himself with his superiors. The trial judge precluded this area of inquiry and R.I.S.C. reversed.
State v. Bustamante, 756 A.2d 758 (R.I. 2000). Trial justice prevented defendant from cross-examining prosecution witness regarding his expectation of favorable treatment in pending juvenile charges in exchange for his testimony. R.I.S.C. held that the limitation was improper but that the error was harmless.
State v. Clark, 974 A.2d 558 (R.I. 2009). Off-duty police officer charged with assaulting a prisoner was prohibited from cross-examining the victim about victim’s hiring of an attorney and making demands for compensation from the town for their alleged liability. Defendant intended the questioning to show the victim’s motive to fabricate. R.I.S.C. vacated and remanded.
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