RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE A Practice Manual – Surrebuttal

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RI Criminal Defense Practice Manual CoverRHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE
A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
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State v. Almonte, 823 A.2d 1148 (R.I. 2003). Defendant testified that arresting police officer beat him and the state introduced the officer’s testimony as rebuttal. Trial court precluded defendant’s mother from testifying as surrebuttal witness. R.I.S.C. affirmed.

Testimony by defendant’s mother would have violated the court’s sequestration order because she was in the courtroom throughout the trial. ”[t]he purpose of surrebuttal is to permit the defendant to introduce evidence in refutation or opposition to new matters interjected into the trial by the plaintiff on rebuttal. . . fairness requires that the defendant be permitted to oppose new matters presented by plaintiff for the first time which the defendant could not have presented or opposed at the time of presentation of his main case. Contrariwise, the purpose of surrebuttal is not the introduction of evidence merely cumulative to that presented by the defendant in its original presentation. . . It follows that the defendant has no right to present surrebuttal evidence merely because the plaintiff has presented rebuttal evidence.”

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