State v. Terry

654 So. 2d 455 (1995)

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State v. Terry

Louisiana Court of Appeal
654 So. 2d 455 (1995)

Facts

William Terry III (defendant) was charged with aggravated rape and attempted murder based on an August 1992 altercation between Terry and his ex-girlfriend. At trial, Terry’s ex-girlfriend testified that she and Terry began dating in January of 1992 but broke up in August because Terry abused her. On cross-examination, Terry’s ex-girlfriend admitted to cutting Terry during previous physical altercations in 1992, but the trial court did not permit Terry’s counsel to ask the ex-girlfriend whether she had ever attacked other family members. The state (plaintiff) also presented testimony from Mathis Holiday, who lived in the area and knew Terry’s ex-girlfriend. However, the court did not allow the defense to question Holiday about the ex-girlfriend’s reputation for truthfulness in the community because Holiday had spoken to only three or four unidentified people who said that the ex-girlfriend was a liar, and Holiday did not provide details about these discussions. During the defense’s case, Terry testified that his ex-girlfriend was violent and had attacked him, and that he was merely defending himself against her. Terry did not testify during direct examination about whether he knew of alleged violence by the ex-girlfriend against anyone other than Terry. Consequently, the court did not allow Terry and other witnesses to answer questions about whether they had knowledge of any violence by the ex-girlfriend against other people. The jury found Terry guilty of attempted murder, and he appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Whipple, J.)

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