Abram v. Gerry, No. 09-1820 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Defendant,convicted of 21 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault against his two stepchildren, four counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of indecent exposure and lewdness, exhausted direct appeals in New Hampshire state courts. The federal district court denied his petition for habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. 2254, rejecting claims that the trial court violated his Confrontation Clause rights by prohibiting him from cross-examining his stepchildren regarding their accusations that he had also abused younger siblings. The First Circuit affirmed. Exclusion of cross-examination did not deprive defendant of a defense; he was able to introduce other evidence that the children "invented" the allegations. Trial courts may place reasonable limits on cross-examination based on concerns about harassment, prejudice, confusion of issues, witness safety, or interrogation that is repetitive or only marginally relevant.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on March 21, 2012.