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United States v. Webster

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
734 F.2d 1191 (7th Cir. 1984)


Webster (defendant) was charged with aiding and abetting the robbery of a bank. At trial, the prosecution called King, the man who robbed the bank, as a witness against Webster. To the prosecution’s surprise, however, King’s testimony actually exculpated Webster. As a result, the prosecution sought to impeach King by introducing evidence of prior statements King had made that inculpated Webster. The trial court admitted the prior inconsistent statements under an exception to the hearsay rule, and instructed the jury to use the statements for impeachment purposes only. The jury convicted Webster. He appealed, arguing that the court should “hold that the government may not impeach a witness with his prior inconsistent statement unless it is surprised and harmed by the witness’s testimony.”

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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