December 11, 2013 United States Supreme Court opinion

Kansas v Cheever

At Cheever’s murder trial, the trial judge allowed the state to present rebuttal evidence on Cheever’s mental state by calling a psychiatrist who interviewed Cheever in an earlier federal proceeding. The Kansa Supreme Court reversed on 5th Amendment grounds. The Court unanimously reversed. It held that once Cheever presented expert testimony on his incapacity to form specific intent to kill, the state was authorized under Court precedent to rebut that evidence. The court reasoned that allowing Cheever to present his side of the story without allowing the state to rebut would subvert the adversarial process. The Court also held that Kansas law on mental defect or disease did not control the issue as Court precedent allows admission of the rebuttal evidence in a wider range of cases. The case was remanded for consideration of Kansas state evidence law challenges.

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