Criminal: SCHRIMSHER V. COMMONWEALTH (SCOKY; 4/20/2006)

SCHRIMSHER V. COMMONWEALTH
CRIMINAL – Severance; Redaction of Co-Defendant’s Statement
2004-SC-000544-MR.pdf
PUBLISHED
AFFIRMING; COOPER
DATE:  4/20/2006
SC affirmed Schrimsher’s convictions for Assault in the First Degree and related offenses. Schrimsher and his live-in girlfriend, Erica Porter, were indicted for Assault and Criminal Abuse in  connection with allegations that their six-month old child suffered multiple injuries including skull fractures, leg fractures, assorted bruises, and a lacerated liver.  Porter gave a statement to police which incriminated Schrimsher.  Before trial, Schrimsher filed a motion to sever his case from Porter’s because he anticipated that Porter’s statement may be used in the Commonwealth’s case even though Porter may not be called as a witness.  The trial court denied the motion to sever but allowed the prosecution to redact Porter’s statement to eliminate any references to Schrimsher.  At trial, Porter testified and was subject to cross examination by Schrimsher’s counsel.  The primary issue on appeal was whether the trial court committed reversible error by failing to grant the severance motion.  Following Nelson v. O’Neill, 402 U.S. 622 (1971), the SC held that there was no error because Porter did, in fact, testify and was subject to cross examination.  Consequently, there was no prejudice to Scrimsher.
Digested by Stephen Keller.

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