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Siedrick Raiford v. State of Mississippi

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Docket Number: 2003-KA-01660-COA
Linked Case(s): 2003-KA-01660-COA ; 2003-KA-01660-COA
Oral Argument: 11-09-2004


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Additional Case Information: Topic: Murder - Right of confrontation - Weight of evidence

  Party Name: Attorney Name:  
Appellant: Siedrick Raiford
Phillip Broadhead; David Lydell Tisdell

Appellee: State of Mississippi Jean Smith Vaughan; Charles W. Maris, Jr.; Jim Hood  

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Topic: Murder - Right of confrontation - Weight of evidence

Summary of the Facts: Siedrick Raiford was convicted of murder. Raiford appeals.

Summary of Opinion Analysis: Issue 1: Right of confrontation Raiford argues that, on several occasions, the court unconstitutionally violated his right to confrontation of witnesses by restricting his cross-examination of a witness. The trial court in its discretion has the inherent power to limit cross-examination to relevant matters. The trial transcript shows that Raiford was never restricted from asking several of the questions which he now complains were barred. Raiford argues that the court improperly prevented him from asking the witness if he had been arrested on the night of the crime. The State elicited the same information on redirect examination that Raiford was barred from eliciting on cross-examination. Since the jury actually heard the question and answer, Raiford suffered no prejudice from the restriction on cross-examination. Raiford also argues that he was improperly restricted from asking the witness if he had owned a gun before the victim was killed, because this would have corroborated his theory of self-defense. When self-defense is raised, it is the jury's role to pass upon the reasonableness of the defendant's actions and, therefore, the jury is entitled to be made fully aware of all relevant facts which reflect apprehension, fear or anxiety in his state of mind. Although the court abused its discretion when it prohibited the question because it tended to increase or decrease, however minimally, the probability of the truth of Raiford's testimony supporting his defense of self-defense, the erroneous exclusion was rendered harmless by other testimony given by the witness. In addition, the evidence that Raiford murdered the victim was overwhelming. Issue 2: Weight of evidence Raiford challenges the weight of the evidence. The defense did not dispute that Raiford fired the fatal shot. The only dispute was whether Raiford accidentally killed the victim while defending himself or whether he killed the victim with deliberate design. A witness testified that she saw Raiford shoot the victim in the back, approach her as she lay on the ground, and shoot her in the head. In addition, Raiford's statements to the police about a physical altercation substantially contradicted his trial testimony that no physical altercation occurred. Therefore, the jury's verdict that Raiford was guilty of murder did not preponderate against the evidence.

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