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Name: People v. Sanders
Case #: B206569
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 09/22/2010

The refusal to strike testimony after a witness refused to answer questions about who had given him identity information was not a violation of due process or the right to confront and cross-examine the witness. Sanders was identified as one of two shooters by three eyewitnesses, including the witness Lanny. Lanny refused to disclose the names of motorcycle club members who approached him after the shooting and gave him information about the identity of the second shooter. Outside the presence of the jury, he testified that his life would be in danger if he revealed his source. There was extensive cross-examination on the issue, his direct testimony describing the shooting, and his prior identifications of the shooters. The court refused to strike Lanny’s testimony and instead fashioned a jury instruction advising that Lanny’s refusal to answer questions or any attempt to suppress evidence may be considered as a circumstance resulting in distrust or rejection of his testimony. The appellate court utilized independent review in analyzing the issue. The identity of the motorcycle club members who Lanny refused to identify were marginal to the case. They had no relation to Lanny’s account of the shooting or his unequivocal identification of Sanders. The instruction advising the jury that they could wholly disregard Lanny’s testimony was a potent weapon for the defense. (The sentencing issue in this case was published earlier.)