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


State v. O’Dell, 576 A.2d 425 (R.I. 1990). The state failed to disclose a witness statement and brought the statement forward for the first time in rebuttal as a result of the cross-examination of defendant. R.I.S.C. vacated and remanded.

The state cannot manufacture an issue on cross-examination of the defendant for the purpose of impeaching the credibility of defendant through rebuttal witnesses.
“We recognize that evidence that may not be admissible in the prosecution’s case in chief may be used in rebuttal in order to counter false statements made by the accused in the course of his direct testimony.The prosecution may not manufacture an issue in the course of cross-examination for the purpose of impeaching the credibility of defendant by the use of evidence or testimony that would otherwise be inadmissible.” Id. at 429.
State v. McDowell, 620 A.2d 94 (R.I. 1993). The trial judge’s admission of previously barred 404(b) evidence through the state’s rebuttal witnesses was reversible error. The state manufactured the issue in cross-examination in order to introduce otherwise impermissible testimony in rebuttal and was therefore barred from introducing this evidence. R.I.S.C. reversed.

State v. Filuminia, 668 A.2d 336 (R.I. 1995). The state could properly introduce defendant’s employment records in rebuttal. The records were not collateral as they impeached defendant’s testimony that he was at work when the sexual assaults supposedly took place. R.I.S.C. affirmed.

State v. Briggs, 886 A.2d 735, 751 (R.I. 2005). The state sought to discredit the alibi testimony of three witnesses by implying that they had a motive to fabricate the alibi in aid of the defendant. Defendant wanted to rebut this implication by admitting hearsay testimony, under the “prior consistent statements” exception, which showed that the witnesses had previously given the same alibi information to a private investigator. The trial court found that the motive already existed in their minds at that time and precluded the rebuttal testimony because prior consistent statements “must have been made before the alleged influence, or motive to fabricate, arose.” R.I.S.C. affirmed.

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