Evidence, Prior Inconsistent Statements

Except as indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals


State of Tennessee v. Roby, Jr. and Allen, No. M2020-00301-CCA-R3-CD, p. 20 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. May 23, 2022).

Tennessee Rule of Evidence 613 allows the use of prior inconsistent statements to impeach a witness. Tennessee Rule of Evidence 613(b) provides that “[e]xtrinsic evidence of a prior inconsistent statement by a witness is not admissible unless and until the witness is afforded an opportunity to explain or deny the same and the opposite party is afforded an opportunity to interrogate the witness thereon, or the interests of justice otherwise require.” If a party presents a prior inconsistent statement to the witness, the witness “has several possible responses: the witness can admit, deny, or not remember making all or part of the statement.” Neil P. Cohen et al., Tennessee Law of Evidence § 6.13[5][a] (6th ed. 2011). If the witness admits making the prior inconsistent statement, extrinsic proof of the statement would be cumulative and, therefore, inadmissible. Id. If the witnesses denies or does not remember making the inconsistent statement, extrinsic proof of the statement is admissible. “[I]t is well-established that trial courts have broad discretion in determining the admissibility of evidence, and their rulings will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion.” State v. Stinnett, 958 S.W.2d 329, 331 (Tenn. 1997).


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