Sunday, December 22, 2013

State v. Oswalt case brief

State v. Oswalt case brief summary
381 P.2d 617 (Wash. 1963)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of judgment from the Superior Court for King County (Washington) convicting appellant of robbery and first degree burglary.

CASE FACTS
During his trial on criminal charges, appellant introduced an alibi defense. The alibi witness testified appellant was in another state at the time of the offense. On cross-examination, the witness testified that appellant had been there for the last couple months. Appellee called a rebuttal witness who testified that appellant was in the city where the offense occurred one month prior to the offense. Appellant challenged his conviction claiming error in the admission of the rebuttal testimony because the evidence constituted impeachment on a collateral matter. 

DISCUSSION

  • The court agreed and reversed the judgment. Appellant sought to prove he had not been in the city at the time of the offense, not that he had not been there prior to such date. 
  • Thus, for purposes of impeaching the witness, whether the defendant was in the city on a given occasion one month prior to the offense was irrelevant and collateral.

CONCLUSION
Court reversed and remanded judgment of conviction where admission of rebuttal testimony was prejudicial error because the evidence constituted impeachment on a collateral matter.


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