A defendant's responses to requests for admission denying an allegation is not admissible as evidence regardless of whether the denial is consistent or inconsistent with the testimony of a defense witness at trial. RFA responses represent legal strategy, not statements of fact. While a trial court has the power to examine witnesses, it cannot act as a cross-examiner. A trial judge committed reversible misconduct by grilling a witness, and openly mocking her. The Fifth Amendment privilege must be asserted with specific reference to particular questions asked or other evidence sought. A blanket refusal to testify is unacceptable. It is improper for a court to require a witness to invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege in front of a jury.
Victaulic Company v. American Home Assurance Company -
filed Feb. 26, 2018, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 927
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