44. how does a defense attorney try to impeach the prosecution’s witnesses

by Cody McDermott 3 min read

Can a defense attorney impeach a witness?

CPL Articles 156, 157 and 160 give criminal defense attorneys the right to use evidence to impeach the prosecution's witnesses. India - In India, Section 138 of the Indian Evidence Act provides the criminally accused the right to confront witnesses.

Can a witness be impeached in cross examination?

Jan 14, 2020 · Here are five common tactics employed by defense attorneys to try and get their clients off. More importantly, here are some strategies on how to beat them. 1. Putting Everyone on Trial Except the Defendant. Defense attorneys will attack an officer’s credibility more often and harder than other prosecution witnesses just because you’re an ...

What are the powers of a prosecutor in criminal cases?

This hearing is your first opportunity to evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case usually in the form of one of their strongest witnesses. Most experienced judges won’t allow a defense attorney to ask questions about possible illegal search and seizure issues, or questions meant to impeach the credibility of a witness. These types ...

Can a defense attorney refresh the testimony of a witness?

The defense attorney is offering this evidence to impeach Debra, not for the truth of the matter asserted. (a) Yes, the defense attorney can ask Debra about the statement she made to the police. (b) Yes, but only if Debra signed the police report or …

How would an attorney impeach the credibility of a witness?

Under common law, a witness may be impeached by proof the witness has contradicted him- or herself through evidence of prior acts or statements that are inconsistent with testimony given on direct examination.

How do you impeach a witness?

The credibility of a witness may be impeached by asking the witness on cross-examination about the witness's bias, hostility, or interest for or against any party to the proceeding and by extrinsic evidence of such bias, hostility, or interest.

What are the five basic methods of impeaching a witness?

showing that a witness made a prior inconsistent statement; 2. showing that a witness is biased; 3. attacking a witness' character for truthfulness; 4. showing deficiencies in a witness' personal knowledge or ability to observe, recall, or relate; and 5.Feb 23, 2016

Can you impeach an adverse witness?

Revised Rule 32(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows any party to impeach a witness by means of his deposition, and Rule 43(b) has allowed the calling and impeachment of an adverse party or person identified with him.

What is impeachment of a witness and how is it done?

Unwary witnesses can be tripped up (impeached) by their own prior words, conduct, and reputation. Impeaching a witness refers to an attack on the witness's credibility. Opposing counsel uses this tactic to show the judge or jury that the witness's testimony should not be believed.Nov 22, 2021

How do you impeach a witness script?

Best PracticesFirst, impeach with only one fact at a time. ... Second, when impeaching with prior sworn testimony, you must read the questions and answers verbatim. ... Third, be mindful of your tone. ... Fourth, do not impeach with facts taken out of context.More items...

How is impeachment evidence used?

Impeachment evidence is designed “to discredit the witness and to persuade the fact finder that the witness is not being truthful.” (People v Page 2 2 Walker, 83 NY2d 455, 461 [1994].) It may be accomplished on cross-examination or in particular instances by extrinsic evidence.

How do you impeach a witness in the Philippines?

The unwilling or hostile witness so declared, or, the witness who is an adverse party, may be impeached by the party presenting him in all respects as if he had been called by the adverse party, except by evidence of his bad character.

How do you impeach a witness with prior convictions?

The most common techniques used for impeachment of witnesses include: 1. Proof of conviction of a crime; 2. Proof of commission of other bad acts; 3. Prior inconsistent statements of the witness; 4.

What are grounds to impeach an adverse party witnesses?

How witness impeached by evidence of inconsistent statements — Before a witness can be impeached by evidence that he has made at other times statements inconsistent with his present testimony, the statements must be related to him, with the circumstances of the times and places and the persons present, and he must be ...Sep 13, 2000

Can you impeach a witness with hearsay?

The declarant of a hearsay statement which is admitted in evidence is in effect a witness. His credibility should in fairness be subject to impeachment and support as though he had in fact testified.

How can a defense attorney impeach a witness?

A defense attorney can also impeach a witness through prior inconsistent statements during cross-examination. This type of impeachment simultaneously undermines the witness's credibility and establishes a question of fact for the jury. There are at least two ways of looking at prior inconsistent statements. In some cases, the lawyer will want to argue that the first statement is the most accurate of the two. In other cases, the lawyer may argue that the second statement is more reliable. In some cases, the lawyer may simply want to show that the witness is totally unreliable.

What is the most common method of impeaching the credibility of a witness?

The most common method of impeaching the credibility of a witness is bias, particularly when a witness has a personal relationship with the victim. Similarly, a witness who has been given a special deal by the prosecution has a strong incentive to lie.

What is the right to cross-examine?

Generally, the right guarantees an opportunity to ask questions of government witnesses at trial. It may also preclude the introduction of written statements by the prosecution, if the defense did not cross-examine the witness at the time of the statement.

Which amendment gives the right to be confronted by witnesses?

United States - In the United States the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to be confronted with the witnesses against him."

Who was the thief in the Chawri market?

CASE FILE: Sahil Kumar was shocked when police came to his home and arrested him for robbery. He was taken to the police station, where a 76-year-old man identified him as having stolen his wallet at the Chawri market that morning. Kumar admitted he was at the market that morning, but insists he is innocent. He has visible bruises on his face, and claims the police forced him to confess to the crime by torturing him for two days, before producing him in front of the magistrate. As a result of your investigation you have identified four potential witnesses who may appear at trial: a pickpocket who identified Sahil Kumar as the thief, the victim, the victim's doctor, and the police officer who arrested Kumar.

What questions can a defense attorney ask?

Generally, a defense attorney may ask questions which are relevant to facts and/or biases that relate directly to the testimony of a particular witness. In some jurisdictions cross-examination may be limited to the scope of the prosecution's direct examination.

What is impeachment in court?

Impeachment is an allegation, supported by proof, that a witness who has been examined is unworthy of credit. Impeachment may be indirect, as through a second witness or presentation of other physical evidence. Or impeachment may be direct, which is typical in cross-examinations or even direct examination (if permissible.) Cross-Examination is one of the primary places that a defense attorney can impeach a witness. Generally, a defense attorney may impeach prosecution witnesses subject to limitations in the evidence code. Under certain circumstances, an attorney may even impeach their own witnesses.

Why do defense attorneys ask for a believable officer?

The purpose is to suggest the officer is practiced at deceiving and appears credible because of special training in how to act, not because she’s testifying truthfully.

What is cross-examination question?

Cross-examination mostly consists of leading questions. A leading question tries to put words in the witness’ mouth and limit the response to confirming or denying the statement phrased as a question. For example:

What is Val Val?

Described by Calibre Press as "the indisputable master of entertrainment," Val is now an international law enforcement trainer and writer. She’s had hundreds of articles published online and in print. She appears in person and on TV, radio, and video productions. When she's not working, Val can be found flying her airplane with her retriever, a shotgun, a fly rod, and high aspirations. Visit Val at www.valvanbrocklin.com and [email protected]

What is the duty of a defense attorney?

In addition to using court discovery procedures to obtain evidence from the prosecution, defense attorneys have a duty to investigate their clients' cases. Effective lawyers will gather evidence of their own in preparation for trial—and even to see whether the client has a reasonable chance of winning at trial.

How to interview witnesses?

The defense can gain significant benefits from trying to interview prosecution witnesses rather than relying on their statements. These include the ability to: 1 gauge witnesses' demeanor and credibility 2 ferret out details of witnesses' stories and strategize as to how to handle their testimony at trial 3 impeach witnesses who say something on the stand that's inconsistent with what they told the defense 4 establish a foundation for arguing witnesses who refuse to speak to the defense are biased against the defendant, and 5 find leads for new evidence and people to interview.

What to do if you are facing criminal charges?

If you're facing criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Only such a lawyer can protect your rights and effectively investigate your case. An attorney will also be able to tell you what you should—and shouldn't—do to help.

Should defendants interview witnesses?

Defendants themselves should almost never interview witnesses, and particularly victims. Whatever the defendant says to the witness or victim can usually be mentioned at trial. And if the witness tells a different story at trial, the defendant might be forced to testify to controvert it.

Can a defense attorney interview a witness?

It's perfectly legal for defense attorneys and their investigators to interview prosecution witnesses in most instances. (Among the instances in which it's not are those involving harassment or threats.) And even though prosecutors might not want their witnesses—including police officers and victims—to talk to the defense, they typically can't stop them (though they may "inform" them that they don't need to).

Can you attack a witness's statement?

Also, you can attack a witness’s statement through the circumstances. I just had a case recently. Somebody claimed that my client was attacking them and they locked themselves in a room .

Can you discredit a witness?

Discredit a Witness Using Other Witnesses. There might be another witness that said something different than what the alleged victim is saying, and you can then call that witness, put them on the witness stand, and even sometimes the prosecutors will call those witnesses and you can use their statements to challenge the alleged victim.

What is expert testimony?

Any relevant written or recorded statements of any of these potential witnesses persons; Any expert reports, including the results of physical or mental examinations, scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons which the defendant intends to offer in evidence at the trial;

What are the requirements for a criminal trial?

According to a criminal defense attorney Santa Ana, CA, the answer is yes — but with some limitations. Unlike the broad discovery requirements for prosecutors, California law provides that defendants are obligated to provide the following information to the prosecution: 1 The names and addresses of persons, other than the defendant, he or she intends to call as witnesses at trial; 2 Any relevant written or recorded statements of any of these potential witnesses persons; 3 Any expert reports, including the results of physical or mental examinations, scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons which the defendant intends to offer in evidence at the trial; 4 Any real evidence which the defendant intends to offer in evidence at the trial (tangible objects, like a knife or a piece of clothing)

What is Brady material?

In criminal cases, the prosecution has an obligation under the constitution to turn over what is known as Brady material. Named after a United States Supreme Court case, this requirement extends to all material, exculpatory evidence. In other words, if the evidence is relevant to the guilt, innocence or punishment of the defendant, ...

Advantages to Be Had

  • The defense can gain significant benefits from trying to interview prosecution witnesses rather than relying on their statements. These include the ability to: 1. gauge witnesses' demeanor and credibility 2. ferret out details of witnesses' stories and strategize as to how to handle their testimony at trial 3. impeach witnesses who say something on the stand that's inconsistent wit…
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Reinventing The Wheel?

  • Some defendants might wonder whether it's worth it to interview a witness who has already given a statement that the prosecution has disclosed. But prosecutors and police officers sometimes omit or misstate information (either intentionally or not). Further, when law enforcement and prosecutors speak to witnesses, they aren't likely to ask all the questions the answers to which t…
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Waste of time?

  • It's perfectly legal for defense attorneys and their investigators to interview prosecution witnesses in most instances. (Among the instances in which it's not are those involving harassment or threats.) And even though prosecutors might not want their witnesses—including police officers and victims—to talk to the defense, they typically can't stop them (though they may "inform" the…
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Forcing The Issue

  • The defense has limited options for trying to interview uncooperative prosecution witnesses before trial. The defense lawyer might hire a private investigator who specializes in finding and interviewing reluctant witnesses. (A defense attorney might be capable of persuading a hesitant witness to talk, but will typically prefer to have someone else ...
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Get A Lawyer

  • If you're facing criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Only such a lawyer can protect your rights and effectively investigate your case. An attorney will also be able to tell you what you should—and shouldn't—do to help. For example, your lawyer may ask you to provide all the information you can possibly think of regarding witnesses, locations, events, and …
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Inconsistent Statements by A Witness

  • The arresting officer takes a statement, the detectives take a statement, the prosecutors take a statement, and a lot of time what happens is there’s different statements and sometimes there’s inconsistent statements by the same witness or there’s inconsistent statements by the same victim. That’s the type of stuff that can win criminal cases. That’s the type of stuff where you ca…
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Discredit A Witness Using Other Witnesses

  • There might be another witness that said something different than what the alleged victim is saying, and you can then call that witness, put them on the witness stand, and even sometimes the prosecutors will call those witnesses and you can use their statements to challenge the alleged victim. That’s the best, when there’s a couple of different wit...
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Discredit A Witness Through Circumstances

  • Also, you can attack a witness’s statement through the circumstances. I just had a case recently. Somebody claimed that my client was attacking them and they locked themselves in a room. My client kicked and broke a door at the bottom and all the pieces shattered everywhere. We have pictures of the inside of the house and you look at all the pieces and broken stuff are on the opp…
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