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State v. Ayers

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
468 A.2d 606 (Me. 1984)


Barbara Ayers (defendant) and her husband, Donald, were charged jointly with the murder of her former husband. Both Barbara and Donald testified at their initial trial and were convicted. Donald’s testimony implicated Barbara in the murder. On appeal, the court set aside the murder convictions because a confession by Barbara was improperly obtained. Barbara was then re-tried, this time individually. At trial, Donald was called to testify, but refused to answer any questions. The prosecution then sought to introduce into evidence Donald’s testimony at the couple’s prior joint trial. The trial court admitted the former testimony as a hearsay exception and found Barbara guilty. She appealed on the grounds that Donald’s prior testimony was improperly admitted. Specifically, Barbara argued that her motive and opportunity to cross-examine Donald was not the same at each trial because her confession was in evidence at the first trial, but was not at the second trial.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (McKusick, C.J.)

Dissent (Nichols, J.)

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