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Goforth v. State

70 So. 3d 174 (2011)

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Goforth v. State

Mississippi Supreme Court

70 So. 3d 174 (2011)

Facts

Amanda Goforth (defendant) was charged with sexual battery of a former student. A witness, Chase Rigdon, told the police that he had gone to Goforth’s house with the student victim. Rigdon also said that he had witnessed and participated in sexual acts with Goforth and the victim at the house. However, after Rigdon gave this statement, he was in a serious car accident that left him with significant memory issues. In particular, Rigdon had no memory of giving the statement to the police or any of the events described in the statement. At Goforth’s trial, the trial court ruled that Rigdon was available for cross-examination, and Rigdon’s prior statement to the police was introduced as evidence. Rigdon was placed on the witness stand for cross-examination about his police statement. However, Rigdon testified that he could not remember anything about the statement or the events described in the statement. Rigdon further testified that he recognized his signature on the statement but could only guess that he had actually provided the information above his signature. Goforth was convicted. Goforth appealed, arguing that Rigdon was not actually available for cross-examination and that his police statement should have been excluded.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Waller, C.J.)

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