Is Cross Examination of a Crime Victim About Drug and Alcohol Addictions Allowed ?

In People v. Weatherspoon, 265 Ill. App. 3d 386, 637 N.E.2d 651, 202 Ill. Dec. 112 (1994), the court held that where cross examination of the victim regarding her failure to complete drug treatment and other matters related to her addiction was excluded but cross examination regarding her drug and alcohol addictions was allowed, the defendant was not denied his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation. The victim in Weatherspoon admitted to being addicted to alcohol, to consuming six drinks on the evening in question, to using alcohol and cocaine together and to being hospitalized for alcohol and cocaine dependency. However, the court did not permit the defendant to elicit testimony on cross examination that the victim did not complete drug treatment. The defendant argued that this exclusion left the jury with the impression that the victim was no longer addicted, thus diminishing his theory of consent and depriving him of his constitutional right to confrontation. the court reasoned that if "the entire record indicates the jury was made aware of adequate factors concerning relevant areas of impeachment of the witness, no constitutional question arises merely because the defendant was precluded from pursuing another line of questioning." Weatherspoon, 265 Ill. App. 3d at 393. the court held that the jury had sufficient information to make an appraisal of the victim and that the defendant's right to confrontation was not violated.