Brief Fact Summary. Fowler, Appellant, was convicted of failure to file tax returns for the years 1971-1975. He had not filed a tax return since 1953. He represented himself at trial and appealed the conviction because the trial court did not let him testify because he would not swear or affirm to tell the truth.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal Rule of Evidence 603 provides that “before testifying, every witness shall be required to declare that he will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation.”
Issue. Did the trial court err in refusing to allow him to testify because he would not swear or affirm that he would tell the truth?
Held. Justice Gee issued the opinion for the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and found that the trial court did not commit error.
Discussion. The Federal Rules of Evidence clearly require that in order to testify every witness must swear or affirm to tell the truth and submit to cross-examination.