47 votes
Accepted

Are witnesses allowed to give private testimonies?

united-states The Sixth Amendment gives a defendant in a criminal case the right to “confront one’s accuser”, and the Supreme Court has taken a notably originalist view of this right, holding that ...
Sneftel's user avatar
  • 1,900
38 votes
Accepted

Do I (witness) have to respond to email from defendant's lawyer?

You don’t have to talk to the lawyer However, if you don’t it’s very likely you will be subpoenaed. Then you’ll have to talk to them at a time and place of their choosing rather one that’s mutually ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
35 votes

Traffic Accident. Defending myself (Canada)

Let's be quite brutal here. Inexperienced driver doesn't mean the driver made a mistake. Lots of friends in the car doesn't mean they interferred with his driving. Loud music in the car is totally ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 33.3k
31 votes
Accepted

Can a witness be ignorant about a question asked to him in court?

Yes "I don't know" answers are quite common in trials, and are perfectly acceptable. Indeed in some cases the aim of a question, particularly on cross examination, may be to get a witness to ...
David Siegel's user avatar
28 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

It’s their job Or, at least, part of their job. For some, like state-employed medical examiners it’s an explicit part of their job description that they will give expert testimony when required. For ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
28 votes

What remedies can a witness use to satisfy the "all the truth" portion of their oath?

"The whole truth" is part of a formulaic phrase which has been operationalized to mean merely "don't commit perjury." A witness simply answers the questions asked and is not ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
27 votes

Why is a witness evidentiary if it cannot be disproven?

The general rule is that sworn testimony of a witness with personal knowledge of the facts is competent evidence. A guilty verdict in a criminal case will only be upheld on appeal if sufficient ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
25 votes

What is the penalty for a bad-acting witness/expert?

The first thing to keep in mind is that, before appearing on the stand, an expert witness will have given a sworn deposition and delivered a written report of his or her findings. They could expect ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 2,874
24 votes
Accepted

How literally do courts in USA interpret face to face confrontation right of defendant under sixth amendment?

I am planning on seeing if a video taped testimony to be played at trial would suffice in lieu of actual face to face confrontation with defendant. This does not satisfy the confrontation clause. At ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
23 votes

Are jurors instructed to not be influenced by the emotions of the witnesses?

No. Jurors generally do not receive such an instruction and it is not a rule of law or evidence. Jurors have to rule in accordance with the law, but how they judge the credibility of witnesses may be ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
22 votes

Do I (witness) have to respond to email from defendant's lawyer?

Responding to the email may deflect any further action by the defense lawyer - for example if you ignore it they may decide that you are a "hostile witness" and act accordingly. On the other ...
alephzero's user avatar
  • 447
19 votes

Can a parent insist that her child (teen) stop assisting police?

E can leave at any time E is not detained and there is no basis to detain her. As a child, that decision can be made by a parent. E can be subpoenaed to testify but she does not have to talk to law ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
19 votes
Accepted

Is it possible for a witness to backtrack and claim that their previous statements were wrong because they misremembered?

Is it possible for a witness to backtrack and claim that their previous statements were wrong because they misremembered? ... Is the witness now allowed to say something along the lines: "Huh. ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 51.5k
18 votes
Accepted

Treatment of lying/exaggerating witnesses

TV has lied to you about criminal trials There is no secret evidence or sudden "gotcha" moment new-south-wales How a criminal trial is to be conducted is spelled out in the appropriately ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
17 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

The other answers have covered good reasons, but here's one more: when you serve as an expert witness, it demonstrates that at least some people hold you in high regard as an expert on your subject, ...
kaya3's user avatar
  • 620
17 votes
Accepted

Calling a judge as a witness in a case that the judge is presiding over?

Parties may only call witnesses for the purpose of adducing* admissible evidence. Evidence is only admissible if it is relevant. If a witness cannot give any relevant evidence, then a party has no ...
sjy's user avatar
  • 9,103
17 votes
Accepted

Refusing to swear the oath by asking for a lawyer

canada The court can order the witness to take the oath and to testify and can hold them in contempt if they continue to refuse. The court can also give the witness an opportunity to discuss with the ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 51.5k
16 votes

A witness (former gov't agent) knows top secret USA information. Can a court compel them to reveal the informaton?

The court should not compel the witness to disclose the information because there is a state secrets privilege which bars disclosure of governmental secrets in litigation. An interlocutory appeal of ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
14 votes

How do prosecutors prepare to cross-examine defendants?

I'd imagine that testimony from the defendant is rare enough that in the majority of cases, prosecutors do not meaningfully prepare for a cross examination. To the extent they do, I'd expect the ...
bdb484's user avatar
  • 58.2k
13 votes
Accepted

May I contact a person who wrote an opposing affidavit?

Unless you received an order from the court prohibiting contact, it might be legal; but it's probably not the best idea. Let the lawyers handle it Attorneys have far better, more effective means of ...
Alexanne Senger's user avatar
13 votes

What does it take for witness testimony to be believed?

Common Law The trier of fact decides the credibility of witnesses The trier of fact for a criminal matter is usually a jury. They decide what witnesses to believe and how much they believe them. ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
13 votes

What does "credible" mean?

Credible means "not lying". But someone who is telling the truth to the best of their ability may still lack the knowledge to be a strong witness on the matters that the court has to make a ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
13 votes

Treatment of lying/exaggerating witnesses

united-states D's attorney will need to disclose the video, since it's clear they will offer it as evidence. It is possible your jurisdiction might treat this as rebuttal evidence and not require ...
Tiger Guy's user avatar
  • 6,194
12 votes
Accepted

Do most people who take the stand at a trial not tell "the whole truth"?

First off, the concept of "the whole truth" is legally undefined. It cannot possibly mean "everything that you know that is connected to this question", since otherwise a witness ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
12 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

Or because they have to. The other answers are all correct. In practice, @DaleM is "most correct" because the lion's share of expert witnesses either voluntarily agree to do so because they ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
12 votes

What remedies can a witness use to satisfy the "all the truth" portion of their oath?

The defendant in Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 told a partial truth but not the whole truth, and got away with it. The crucial feature of his testimony is that he only answered part of the ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
12 votes
Accepted

What does "credible" mean?

canada There is a distinction between credibility and reliability. Credibility is about sincerity. Reliability is about ultimate accuracy, which can be doubted for reasons other than sincerity (memory,...
Jen's user avatar
  • 51.5k
11 votes

Why didn't the Crown inform the witness about the defense's evidence beforehand?

The defence sees the prosecution evidence; witnesses don’t From context, it appears that Ms. DeCoutere was a prosecution witness, not the defendant. As such, she would not be privy to the evidence ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k

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