Juries often put a lot of stock in witness testimony. It can be the focal point of an entire case.
As such, it's important to know how to challenge that testimony. Below are some potential tactics criminal defense attorneys sometimes used.
Showing That the Witness Is Biased
The witness has never liked you. The two of you have been in a feud for years. Now he or she claims to have seen you at the crime scene, but you believe that person is just using it as an opportunity to act against you.
Bias based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other things of this nature could also play into the case. It may give the witness reason to lie about the facts.
Showing That the Witness's Testimony Isn't Believable
The witness claims to have seen you, but he or she was hundreds of yards away and had forgotten to wear glasses that day. Is that testimony reliable? Does it even make sense that the witness could have identified you at that distance? This doesn't always mean the witness is intentionally lying. He or she may think it was you. But proving something beyond a reasonable doubt means going far beyond what a witness thinks happened. The witness has to know.
Suggesting That the Witness Has Other Incentives
Is the witness naming you for a reason that doesn't fit with a desire for justice and a fair trial? For instance, perhaps the police arrested the witness and threatened to charge him or her with a crime unless an accomplice was named. If so, the charges would be dropped. The witness then named you, but does it stand to reason that the witness would have named anyone just to get out of the charges?
Obviously, every case is different, so these defense tactics may not fit your case. If you're facing charges, though, these three examples show why it's so important to consider all of your options.
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