State v. Sauris

In State v. Sauris, 227 Conn. 389, 410-11, 631 A.2d 238 (1993), it was the defendant who sought the admission of evidence of prior crimes to impeach a prosecution witness. The Court explained that, the party against whom the impeachment evidence was to be introduced could have raised the prior convictions preemptively during the witness' direct testimony, thereby softening the impact of the evidence. Id., at 412. In the alternative, that party could have requested surrebuttal to rehabilitate the impeached witness. Id. The Supreme Court in Sauris articulated its reasoning as follows: "The state's argument that it would have been prejudiced by the admission of the documentary evidence of the conviction at the end of the defense case is unpersuasive. The state had the opportunity to make the jury aware of the conviction during the witness' direct examination. Furthermore, our rules of criminal procedure would not have precluded the state from requesting further rebuttal to rehabilitate the witness or prohibited the trial court from exercising its discretion to grant such a request. Practice Book 874 now 42-35, which establishes the order of procedure in a criminal trial provides in subsection (3) that 'the prosecuting authority and the defendant may present rebuttal evidence in successive rebuttals, as required' unless the trial court 'for cause' permits otherwise. . . . The state is allowed to rehabilitate a witness whose credibility has been impeached by a prior conviction by allowing that witness to explain the circumstances underlying the prior conviction . . . and may rebut such evidence by other evidence." State v. Sauris, supra, 227 Conn. at 411-12.