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Tag Archives: Harmless Error

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Witness Impeachment – 1987 Manslaughter Convictions – Harmless Error – CSC with a Minor (access required)

State v. Black The trial court erred when it admitted evidence of a defense witness’s 1987 manslaughter convictions for which he was imprisoned until 1993. These convictions did not rest on dishonest conduct and are not particularly probative of the specific trait of truthfulness. Nevertheless, the error was harmless.

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Criminal Practice – Homicide by Child Abuse – Evidence – Sticks with Protruding Staples – Harmless Error – Photos of Child (access required)

State v. Salley The trial court abused its discretion in admitting into evidence sticks (with staples protruding from them) which were seized from a trashcan outside defendant’s home, when those sticks were only submitted to show the type of instrument that could have caused the child-victim’s injuries.

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Criminal Practice – Murder-for-Hire – Evidence – Prior Shooting – Harmless Error (access required)

U.S. v. Byers Even assuming the district court erred in allowing testimony about defendant's alleged prior shooting of another man, or testimony from the later murder victim's girlfriend, the 4th Circuit says any errors were harmless and did not unfairly affect the trial of two codefendants in this murder-for-hire case involving the fatal shooting of a witness to prevent him from testifying against one of the codefendants in a state murder trial.

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Criminal Practice – Jury & Jurors – Questionnaires – Abuse of Discretion – Harmless Error (access required)

U.S. v. Barnette A district court's refusal to provide the defense with clean copies of the juror questionnaires was clearly an abuse of its considerable discretion in the proceedings after remand on a capital murder defendant's Batson claim, but the 4th Circuit says the error was harmless, as the record shows the error in refusing to allow defendant access harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

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