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If you get accused of a crime that happened when your were committing an unrelated crime at another part of town, could you use this as an alibi without incriminating yourself? Do judicial procedures contemplate a case when an accused reports information that remains secret?

Or would the only alternative be to confess your true crime to defend yourself from a more serious accusation (like confessing a robbery to avoid a murder accusation)?

  • What jurisdiction would this be in? what country, and if the US, what state? If in another federal country, what state or province? – David Siegel Mar 13 at 20:56
  • Interesting corollary to this would be, what happens when you're then charged for the 'other' crime and plead not-guilty. – JeffUK Mar 15 at 10:57
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I don't know of a jurisdiction in which a person could confess to a different crime as an alibi with any sort of guarantee of non-prosecution.

However, that might not be the "only alternative". The prosecution must, after all, prove its case. Knowing that the defendant was not actually there, any witnesses saying otherwise are known to be mistaken or lying, and the defense can attack them accordingly. Evidence which suggests the accused's involvement can be investigated and challenged. If someone saw the accused near the scene of the other crime (but not committing it) that might be an effective alibi.

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That’s tough luck. Since you didn’t in fact commit the first crime and were in fact nowhere near where it happened the prosecutor shouldn’t logically be able to prove your guilt beyond reasonable doubt. But depending on the circumstances, they might (if you had motive, opportunity etc. )

You might hire a private detective to find evidence that you were not at the place if the crime (for example a CCTV camera catching you 50m from the location of the second crime). Your lawyer might be able to put your alibi in such a way that it doesn’t incriminate you enough for a conviction. And since you know that every witness of the first crime against is lying or mistaken, your private detective and/or lawyer will find it easier to demonstrate that.

Worst case, judge and jury might not be willing to believe your alibi without proof. So you might be forced to not just admit the second crime but show evidence that you did it. Like producing jewellery stolen in town B might be needed to prove that you didn’t commit a murder in town A.

You can’t be forced to self-incriminate but there may be rare situations where it is your best choice. Tough luck.

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