Imagine that you are charged with a crime that you did not commit. Forced to attend your own trial, you choose to testify on your own behalf. The prosecutor conducts his best spin to discredit you, but his attempts are largely unsuccessful. Not only is your story consistent with that of other witnesses, but it is a plausible accounting of the disputed facts. The reason: your story is the truth. Nevertheless, in summation, the prosecutor attacks your credibility. His argument, however, addresses no inconsistencies, no physical evidence, and no concrete reason to cast doubt on your story. Instead, he argues that your presence in the courtroom provided you with an opportunity to tailor your own testimony to meet the facts presented at trial. The jury believes his argument and sends you to prison. Have you received a fair trial?
J. F. Douthat Jr.,
A Right to Confrontation or Insinuation? The Supreme Court's Holding in Portuondo v. Agard,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol34/iss2/11