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United States v. Karnes

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
531 F.2d 214 (4th Cir. 1976)


Robert Lee Karnes (defendant) was charged with possessing a stolen car. The two witnesses vital to the prosecution’s case were Fred Cassity, Karnes’s co-defendant, and Cassity’s wife. The prosecution chose not to call them to testify because they previously had made conflicting statements and had withheld information. Over Karnes’s objection, however, the district court called the Cassitys as witnesses on its own and allowed both sides to cross-examine them. The district court did not explain to the jury why the court had called the Cassitys and not one of the parties. The jury convicted Karnes. He appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Winter, J.)

Concurrence (Widener, J.)

Dissent (Russell, J.)

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