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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