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A Defendant's Case and Their Rights

The defendant has a fundamental right to testify or not testify. · State v. Rivera, 402 S.C. 225 (2013). While the defendant as a right to be present at trial, they do not have a right to be absent from trial. · State v. Patterson, 367 S.C. 219 (Ct. App. 2006)


A defendant does not have an unfettered and absolute right to put up a defense. A trial judge may limit a defense based upon the Rules of Evidence. · State v. Cottrell, 421 S.C. 622 (2017). A trial judge may limit a defendant’s range of cross-examination as long as it is reasonable. · State v. Mitchell, 330 S.C. 189 (1998). A defendant has the right under some circumstances to call the prosecutor as a witness. See also State v. Sierra, 337 S.C. 368 (Ct. App. 1999) (A prosecutor could potentially become a witness by laying the foundation for a prior inconsistent statement if that witness denies the statement and the prosecutor never introduces actual extrinsic evidence to back up the foundation that was laid). · State v. Inman, 395 S.C. 539 (2011)