Blair v. State

In Blair v. State, 42 P.3d 1152, 1155 (Alaska App. 2002), the defendant was charged with assaulting his wife. In advance of trial, Blair's wife indicated that she wished to recant her accusation of assault. But rather than testify at her husband's trial, she asserted her privilege against self-incrimination (apparently out of concern that she might be charged with making a false report or with having committed perjury at an earlier court hearing). When the State declined to grant immunity to Blair's wife, Blair asked the trial judge to dismiss the case under Criminal Rule 43(c). The judge refused to dismiss the prosecution, and we upheld the judge's decision on appeal. In Blair, the Court gave two reasons for upholding the trial judge's decision. First, we concluded that the absence of the wife's testimony "did not undermine the fairness of Blair's trial" because "it was not manifest that Blair's wife's testimony would have led to his acquittal": Blair's case presented an instance where the purported victim of domestic violence indicated her desire to retract her earlier accusation. Assuming that Blair's wife would have recanted her prior accusation against her husband, she would certainly have been impeached with her prior claims that she had been assaulted. Blair, 42 P.3d at 1155.