4

If it’s a family law. In some state, for example, Arkansas. Can I call a witness from a different state? Will court accept him? I’m asking because this witness is from a different state, then the court will not be able to hold him accountable since this witness is from a different jurisdiction. So this witness can say whatever and even lie and have no responsibility. Or does court have any strings to pull. Also, can the opposing part object my witness since he is from a different state? (Note: this witness never visited my state, and has always lived in that different state).

2 Answers 2

13

Perjury is a crime in every state, and being a resident of a state is not a requirement for criminality. You can't lie in court just because you don't live in a state of the court. Compelling testimony of an out of state resident will require a court from the person's state.

8
  • Can the other party object me trying to call this out of state witness? Object on the grounds of “out of state”>
    – user44868
    Apr 27, 2022 at 17:51
  • 7
    @user44868 you can call witnesses from out of the country if you need to.
    – Dale M
    Apr 27, 2022 at 22:02
  • I suppose a objection might be about the costs of having that person come to testify? Apr 27, 2022 at 23:01
  • 3
    It would be worth adding something about how & when depositions can be used in lieu of testimony in such circumstances. Apr 27, 2022 at 23:27
  • 1
    @PaŭloEbermann Would the other party have to pay those expenses? I suppose if they lose, and the judgement includes legal expenses, they would. But can you really object because of the severity of the potential judgement? Then I'd also object to the opponent hiring expert witnesses, etc.
    – Barmar
    Apr 28, 2022 at 14:38
1

If it’s a family law. In some state, for example, Arkansas. Can I call a witness from a different state?

Yes.

Will court accept him?

Assuming there is not some reason unrelated to being from a different state (e.g., the witness is 4 years old or can invoke attorney-client privilege) for refusing to do so.

I’m asking because this witness is from a different state, then the court will not be able to hold him accountable since this witness is from a different jurisdiction. So this witness can say whatever and even lie and have no responsibility. Or does court have any strings to pull.

A witness from anywhere who testifies, in person, or remotely, under oath and lies can be prosecuted for perjury in the state where the court is located, even if the witness has never set foot in that state. Extradition to face a perjury prosecution from the state where the witness is located is available in every other U.S. jurisdiction (as a matter of U.S. Constitutional law) and in most non-U.S. jurisdictions under the relevant extradition treaties.

Generally speaking, a witness who testifies voluntarily in a case, or pursuant to a valid subpoena, whether testifying in person, or remotely, is also subject to contempt of court sanctions from the court in which the live testimony is offered, although there are some isolated jurisdictions which hold to the traditional rule that involvement in a court case that is not physically in person in the courtroom is not subject to the summary incarceration or fine for direct punitive contempt of court available when a person is personally in a courtroom.

As a practical matter, however, perjury prosecutions for testimony offered by a third-party witness in a court proceeding are vanishingly rare (I would be surprised if Arkansas ever had more than four such prosecutions per year in the entire state and would have none in a typical year based upon statistics I have seen from other states), and contempt of court sanctions for lying are also exceeding rare although somewhat more common.

In other words, in practice, witnesses are almost never held legally accountable for their lies in court, even if they are testifying under oath and despite the fact that there is a legal basis to do so. So, the difference between an out of state witness and an in state witness in this regard isn't really material.

Usually, if the court doesn't find the testimony of a witness to be credible, the court will simply ignore that testimony.

Also, in most states in civil cases, there is a strict time limit upon when a judgment entered can be challenged based upon later discovered irregularities in the underlying court cases leading to the conviction like false testimony. Deadlines of six months to three years after judgment is entered are typical.

Also, can the opposing part object my witness since he is from a different state?

No.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .