RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE A Practice Manual – Prejudicial Questions

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RI Criminal Defense Practice Manual CoverRHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE
A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
John E. MacDonald




Prejudicial Questions



State v. Ordway, 619 A.2d 819 (R.I. 1992). During cross-examination of defendant in a murder trial, the prosecutor asked defendant if she had also previously stabbed another boyfriend. R.I.S.C. reversed and remanded.

  • Prosecutor’s question was so inflammatory as to render the cautionary instructions inadequate.
  • The naïve assumption that prejudicial effects can be overcome by instructions to the jury, . all practicing lawyers know to be unmitigated fiction.The well was poisoned and the bell rung, and the resulting effects cannot be altered.Id. at 828.


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