Q: Would you please state your name for the court?
A: Rhonda Dedman.
Q: And where do you live, Miss Dedman?
A: Highland Park in Marion.
Q: Okay. Are you familiar with the defendant, Jessie Misskelley?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How long have you known him?
A: Around fourteen years.
Q: Okay. Are you also familiar with Vicki Hutcheson?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: At any time, subesquent to the murders of the three little boys, did you ever have a conversation, with Miss Hutcheson, regarding the reward money being given to her?
A: Yes, sir.
Fogleman: Your Honor, I--I object to this question. He's asking, I assume he's getting toward a hearsay response which is totally inappropriate.
Stidham: Your Honor...
Crow: [interrupting] I'm sorry. May we aproach the bench?
Fogleman: I assume the only thing possible would be to get her here for a hearsay response and if that's where he's heading we want to object at this stage.
Crow: Your Honor, our response to that is, she was asked that on direct--on cross-examination about the reward and she denied it, she did not make any statement. This is proper impeachment. You ask the witness--you ask the witness if they made the statement, if they did not, if they deny the impeachment [unintelligible]. That's exactly the way you're supposed to do it, your Honor.
Stidham: She testified that she wasn't sure whether she made that statement or not.
The Court: I think you're bound by her answer. I don't think you can collaterly attack it. You show me a case where you can collaterly attack it...
Crow: [interrupting] That's exac--that's exactly what you're supposed to do with an inconsistent statement like that.
Stidham: The witness denies or says that she can't remember something occurred, that's important because this reward--this witness can testify that--that she talked to her on two occasions and Ms. Hutcheson said she was going to get the reward money and this is the
same lady who played detective and--and a--a led to the incrimination of Jessie Misskelley. It's important to show, your Honor, that--that Ms. Hutcheson had ulterior motives for--for playing detective.
Fogleman: She clearly denies that she made that statement then he can put it in [unintelligible].
Stidham: She said that she did not remember saying that.
Fogleman: Yeah and he can't put on extrinsic evidence to state othewise.
The Court: [interrupting] Just a minute.
Fogleman: The only thing this evidence will go towards would be to impeach her credibility.
Crow: That--that's exactly what we're trying to do, your Honor.
Fogleman: Well, you can't put on extrinsic evidence [unintelligible] for the purposes of impeaching credibility.
Crow: [interrupting] It's not...
Fogleman:...unless the person denies [unintelligible]
Crow: She says she didn't know [unintelligible] available.
Stidham: Your Honor, Miss Hutcheson's veracity is certainly an issue.
The Court: Frankly...
The Court: No, it's rule 613.
Stidham: Your Honor, 613B clearly...
The Court: [interrupting] I know what it says. I'm looking at it but I'm not--it's not as clear as what you're saying.
Fogleman: Well, when a witness admits having made it's not admissable.
Crow: She clearly...
The Court: [interrupting] Well, I--can you all agree to a stipulation as to what her testimony was because as I recall it she said she didn't remember making a statement like that and then you asked her--did you ask her, specifically, if she had made it to this woman?
Stidham: No, I asked her if she had never talked to anyone that she said was going to get the reward.
The Court: And what was her reply?
Stidham: Her reply was she didn't--she couldn't remember or [unintelligible] that statement.
The Court: Well, how you--you didn't confront her what you're trying to impeach her with and give her an opportunity to refute or deny it.
The Court: I'm--I'm going to sustain the objection.
Crow: Your Honor, I'd like to put on a proffer.
The Court: Sure. Okay, you want to do it right now? All right, ladies and gentlemen, you'll need to step back into the witness room for just a minute, please with the admonition not to discuss the case.
The Court: All right, let the record reflect that this is a hearing out of the presence of the jury and gentlemen, as I understand it, since--since we're making a record now and I don't have to whisper that you--you propose to question this witness with regard to a conversation that she had with a prior witness, Hutche...
Stidham: Vicki Hutcheson, your Honor.
The Court: Hutcheson. And you want to elicit, from her, testimony to the effect that Ms. Hutcheson had said she was going to receive the reward. Is that correct?
Stidham: That's correct.
The Court: All right. Well, under rule 613, that would fall under the heading of a prior statement of a witness that is inconsistent with their testimony at the time of trial and the rule is is that a prior inconsistent statement can be inquired into for the purposes of--of--of impeachment or--well, for impeachment purposes, provided that the witness is afforded an opportunity to explain or deny the statement and the opposing party is afforded an opportunity to in--interrogate them, thereon. Here, it's similar to the Harris case, Harris v. Powers 262 Ark. at 96, that it--it may very well have been an inconsistent statement. My recollection of the witness' testimony was is that she didn't remember making
that statement and you characterized it, according to your statement to the bench just a moment ago, in terms "have you ever stated to anyone that you were seeking the reward or going to get the reward" and she replied, as best as I can recall and my recollection of all these witnesses ar--isn't perfect, but I think you all agreed she replied that "not to her recollection." So, it would be my finding that you hadn't laid a proper foundation to allow the witness to either admit or deny the making of the inconsistency. Now, I'll do this, if
you want to recall her and make her your witness for the purpose of laying that foundation, then I'll allow you to--to attempt to impeach her even though, for that purpose, she might be your--your witness but first of all, she's going to have to be given the opportunity to admit or
deny the statement. Secondly, to explain that statement and the state will also have an opportunity to cross-examine her with regard to the alleged inconsistency.
Fogleman: Your Honor, we would also say, for the record that--and I don't remember but if--if the testimony was that she did not recall whether or not she made such a statment, then whatever this witness testified to would not be inconsistent with what she said because
she has not denied or admitted....
The Court: [interrupting] Well that's--that's basically what I'm ruling, that a proper foundation hadn't been made that--at this point, she hadn't been given an opportunity
to admit or deny and secondly, to allow this witness to testify would be allow a collateral issue to be brought into the case that's not even impeaching her previous testimony, at this point but I think I've outlined what you want to do if--I'm not--I'm saying you may call that witness, make her your own witness for the purpose of laying the foundation and then, proceed. I'll--I'll allow you to do that.
Stidham: She's not here today, is she?
The Court: Get her back.
Stidham: Your Honor, We'd like to call her back and...
The Court: [interrupting] That'll be fine. I'll permit that. Any questions, gentlemen?
Stidham: Your Honor, I think...
Fogleman: [interrupting] Of course, your Honor, if she--if she's already said that she does not
The Court: I don't have any idea what she might say. Does anyone remember exactly what she said? My recollection was that she said she didn't recall having made that statement but now, I may be totally wrong.
Stidham: Your Honor, that's what I recall.
Crow: We're in agreement on that.
Fogleman: Your Honor, if that's what she said then I don't see how a proper foundation could be laid.
The Court: Well, I mean, he didn't--he didn't preface--he didn't set her up right. If you'd asked her do you know Mrs.--what's this witness' name, Hamilton? Is that...
Stidham: [interrupting] Rhonda Dedman.
The Court: Dedman, Miss Dedman and did you make this statement to Rhonda Dedman and if she denied it then, perfectly permissable and I would--I'd allow it but you got to--you got to get her to have an opportunity to admit or deny having made the previous statement. And I point out that normally this rule applies to written statements and, in fact, the states utilize written
statements a number of times to impeach but they've also provided a witness with an opportunity to admit or deny the previous statement. And that's all I'm saying. If you want to do that, you'll be permitted to do so.
Stidham: Considering the court's ruling, we would like to do that. We were under the impression that she had denied that. I don't know if she said couldn't remember but I took that as a denial, your Honor.
The Court: Well, but I think you've got to ask her specifically did you make that statement to Miss Dedman?
Stidham: We'll see if we can have the sheriff find her.
The Court: I'm going to allow you to do it if you do it in that fashion.
Fogleman: Your Honor, what's the witness going to say?
The Court: I don't know. You want to proffer what she's going to say?
Stidham: Certainly, your Honor.
Crow: Your Honor, one other issue, I believe that a--that Vicki Hutcheson has been released from the rule.
Obviously, she's not here to be told she's back under the rule but I would like her to be placed under the rule, at this point and not--she not have any conversations with the witnesses here who know what's going on having conversations with her.
The Court: They've been told and she was told that she was not to discuss...
Crow: [interrupting] She--she was released from the rule, your Honor.
The Court: Well, she was released from attendence but I guess she was released technically. I understand what you're saying.
Crow: Thank you, your Honor.
The Court: Go ahead.
Stidham: Miss Dedman, do you remember having a conversation with Vicki Hutcheson about the reward?
Dedman: Yes, sir.
Stidham: Will you tell the court what the nature of that conversation was?
Dedman: Well, she told me that they were going to split the reward money with Aaron and another little boy.
Stidham: Do you remember when this took place?
Dedman: It--it was after the arrests is all--I don't remember the exact date.
Stidham: Okay. Was there another occasion which it was discussed?
Dedman: Yes, sir.
Stidham: What was the nature of that discussion?
Dedman: The next discussion she told me that they weren't going to split the money, that they were going to give it all to Aaron and she told me that right after the press conference came out.
Fogleman: Who is "they?"
Dedman: I guess the police department, whoever had the reward money.
Fogleman: You said "they told you, they said that after the press conference came out."
Dedman: She said that after the press conference came out.
Fogleman: She never said anything about herself going to get the reward?
Dedman: No, she said that Aaron was going to.
Fogleman: Well, your Honor, I...
The Court: I don't know. If you want to call her back, I'll let you. We'll give her an opportunity to admit or deny having madethat statement to--to Miss Dedman and to explain if she can or cares to.
Stidham: Thank you, your Honor.
The Court: And then--then if you do that, I'll allow this lady to testify, to impeach her testimony.
Stidham: Thank you, your Honor.
The Court: Pardon?
Fogleman: How is that going to be relevant to--that somebody else would be getting the reward?
The Court: The only relavancy that the court sees would be the possible impeachment of that witness, Hutcheson.
Stidham: That's exactly [unintelligible]
Fogleman: [interrupting] But how is the question about reward even relevant if you're talking about someone else getting the reward.
Crow: From a logical standpoint, we all know that if her child [unintelligible].
The Court: Well, I'm ruling right--right now that it's not relevant because the proper foundation hadn't been laid for the impeachment.
Stidham: We would like to have the opportunity [unintelligible] to make a decision.
The Court: Sure.
Stidham: Your Honor, we need to have an in camera hearing with regard to the issue we discussed earlier.
The Court: I'm going to let the jury to go to lunch until one o'clock, would that be enough time?
Fogleman: [unintelligible] did you?
Fogleman: Because he can't be released or not.
Stidham: He isn't released.
The Court: What about Officer Allen?
Stidham: I don't think he's here today.
Fogleman: He's not here today. He's in Marion.
Stidham: If he can be available tomorrow, we'd like to call him.
The Court: I'm going to let the jury go until 1:30 'cause we got to eat too. I don't know how long you're...
Stidham: That's fine, your Honor
The Court: Call him back in? All right, ma'am, you can stand down. You--need to keep her in attendance or under the subpoena.