When the prosecution is making their case against a defendant who is charged with various crimes, they may make use of witness testimony as part of their strategy. Some witnesses can be extremely credible and make it an uphill challenge for the defense to overcome. Other times, the believability of a witness can be questioned, and a talented criminal defense lawyer will know how and where to find inconsistencies to potentially make their testimony less impactful on the defendant’s case.
When you have been arrested for a crime in San Diego or the surrounding areas, the best way to go about combating such charges is to do so with effective and competent legal counsel. For the majority of his professional life, the San Diego criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje has been representing aggrieved individuals accused of crimes and fighting to secure the best possible outcomes for them. When a case goes to court, getting a “not guilty” verdict is always the goal. But, when this does not seem likely, having charges reduced or negotiating a fair plea agreement could be appropriate alternatives.
When is a Witness’s Testimony Credible?
Ultimately, credibility comes down to what the jurors believe when they hear a witness speak. During a trial, witness statements can be quite powerful for either the prosecution or the defense. Yet, not every witness called is going to deliver a compelling story that sways the jurors to believe in their credibility.
The way that a witness comes off, their personality, the consistency of their statements, their background, if they have a criminal past, their connection to the case, and more can all go into what makes up a trustworthy witness or one who is suspect.
Some key factors that go into the credibility of a witness include:
- Can the witness benefit financially from the outcome of the case?
- Does the witness exhibit, or can be shown to have any type of bias or prejudice?
- Does the witness have certain disabilities or limitations that may have hampered their ability to fully hear or see an event?
- Does the witness have a drug or alcohol problem and did they have either in their system at the time they claim they heard or saw something?
- Do they have a clear and consistent memory of the events that took place or do they often struggle to remember what happened when questioned?
- Is the witness’s behavior consistent with truth telling?
- Has the witness said different things at different times about an event in question?
Even if a witness is completely honest, there is no way to tell how each juror will interpret what they say. This is especially true because to some extent, people all have varying amounts of different subconscious biases. For example, it could be that one juror may not be as trustful of men with blue eyes and blonde hair simply because of an experience they had with someone of the same characteristics in their past. Continue reading