Does Memory Loss of a Witness (About Prior Statements) Deprives Effective Cross-Examination ?
In People v. Watkins, 368 Ill. App. 3d 927, 931, 859 N.E.2d 265, 268, 307 Ill. Dec. 265 (2006), two witnesses answered "'I don't remember,'" "'I don't recall,'" or "'I can't remember'" to almost every question asked of them at trial. Watkins, 368 Ill. App. 3d at 929, 859 N.E.2d at 267.
The defendant challenged the admission of prior inconsistent statements to police and the grand jury implicating the defendant in an aggravated battery based on the allegation the witnesses were not subject to meaningful cross-examination because of their professed memory loss regarding their prior statements. Watkins, 368 Ill. App. 3d at 930, 859 N.E.2d at 267.
The Watkins court rejected this argument and stated the witness's "asserted memory loss did not deprive defendant of the opportunity for an effective cross-examination." Watkins, 368 Ill. App. 3d at 933, 859 N.E.2d at 270.