Leading Questions Regarding a Previous Testimony In Another Proceeding

In Lingerfelt v. State, 235 Ga. 139 (218 S.E.2d 752) (1975), after the witness invoked the Fifth Amendment, the State read into evidence by means of leading questions the previous testimony of the witness in another proceeding, thereby depriving Lingerfelt of the right to cross-examine the witness. The error in that case was compounded by the fact, noted by the Supreme Court, that an earlier appeal had already held the previous testimony inadmissible, and the leading questions were a device "to do indirectly what we had held could not be done directly." 235 Ga. at 140. Similarly, in Greenwood v. State, 203 Ga. App. 901 (418 S.E.2d 160) (1992), the recalcitrant witness refused to answer when the State propounded, over objection, a series of questions asking in detail about his and Greenwood's participation in the crime with which they were charged. Indeed, a witness' in-court invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights is not necessarily harmful. What is harmful is for the trial court to allow the State, once a witness has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, in effect, to testify for the witness and circumvent meaningful cross-examination as to obvious inferences. McIntyre v. State, 266 Ga. 7, 11 (5) (463 S.E.2d 476) (1995).