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Rock v. Arkansas

United States Supreme Court
483 U.S. 44 (1987)


Facts

Rock (defendant) was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of her husband. The incident stemmed from an argument between the two that became physical. At first, Rock could not recall the exact circumstances that led to the shooting. However, after being hypnotized, Rock recalled that she had never pulled the trigger, but that the gun had accidently discharged when her husband grabbed her arm during the fight. An inspection of the gun indicated that it was defective and had a tendency to go off without the trigger being pulled. Rock sought to testify to her post-hypnosis recollection about the incident at trial. However, the trial court excluded all of Rock’s testimony to recollections she had after the hypnosis, limiting her testimony to what she had recalled prior to the hypnosis, which was recorded in the hypnotist’s pre-hypnosis notes. As a result of this exclusion, the trial court convicted Rock. The Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)

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Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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