A detective was subpoenaed to testify. He did not show up.

His absence was objected to, and the State's Attorney said she would have to look into it.

The detective was asked about his absence when a subpoena for the next court date was served, and he said the State's Attorney told him he did not have to testify that day.

A Motion to Disqualify the Prosecuting Attorney was filed and listed that she told the court she would have to look into why the detective was not there, and he said she told him he was not needed. At the hearing for the motion, she said she met the detective in the hallway and told him he was not needed to testify as there were no motions set for that day, and that she had not been given a copy of the motion.

Saying she has to look into it, when she actually told him he was not needed, is not honest. Is there any case law regarding a State's Attorney telling someone who is subpoenaed that he is not needed that day?

  • "Saying she has to look into it, when she actually told him he was not needed, is not honest": It could have been an honest mistake.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 5:15
  • 1
    Is it not possible that at the time the judge asked “where is the detective?” that the SA did not know exactly? How is “I have to look into it” a lie?
    – Damila
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 5:16
  • 1
    Setting the law aside, "I have to look into it" seems a perfectly valid answer, as long as somewhere along the road, they do look into it, remember/ascertain that they told the detective by mistake and report back on it. There is no lie involved here.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 5:46
  • Were I the attorney, I'd not want to rely on my memory, given the risk of muddling up two different cases or something. Better to defer until I can be 100% sure. Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Not remembering something correctly is not lying

To lie, you have to know the statement is false at the time you make it.

As a State’s Attorney she no doubt deals with multiple cases and a plethora of detectives. Not remembering in the moment what you said to one detective is not malfeasance, it’s just human. Telling the court you don’t know and will find out and then finding out is good practice. It’s possible that the attorney didn’t remember the conversation until she spoke to the detective again. It’s possible she still doesn’t remember the conversation and is just taking the detective at his word.

It is often useful to remember Hanlon’s Razor:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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