Wednesday, December 13, 2006

State v. Rollins (Ct of Special Appeals)

Filed: December 13, 2006 - Opinion by Chief Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr.

Evidence; Criminal Procedure, Cross-examination of the defendant about his or her testimony in an unrelated criminal case: A defendant who testifies in an unrelated case does not thereby submit to a discovery deposition. Nor does a defendant’s unrelated case testimony "open the door" to cross-examination questions that are of consequence only to the defendant's upcoming case, and have nothing to do with the direct examination testimony.

If, however, a criminal defendant who is awaiting trial and represented by counsel elects to testify on behalf of another criminal defendant in an unrelated case, the State may cross-examine the defendant about his or her unrelated case testimony, as long as the record shows that
  • the judge presiding in the unrelated case had advised the defendant of the possibility that the State may be able to use the defendant's testimony during the defendant’s trial; and

  • the unrelated case testimony was given by the defendant either on (a) direct examination, or (b) cross-examination that was, pursuant to Md. Rule 5-611(a), "limited to the subject matter of the direct examination."

The full opinion is available in WPD and PDF.

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