If you’re facing criminal charges, regardless of what they are for, witnesses may be produced to testify against you. This is one of the main ways that the prosecution gets evidence into court. They try to find witnesses who will support the case and present evidence, such as a testimony that they saw you at the scene of the crime.
However, witness misidentification is one of the top reasons for wrongful convictions in the United States. As such, it is very important to ask the three following questions about every witness to determine if their testimony is actually valid and important to the case or not.
1. What is the source?
The witness claims to know something in their testimony. But what is the source of that evidence or that knowledge? How do they know this and where did they acquire that information? For instance, there’s a big difference between someone claiming that they saw an event take place and claiming that they talked to another person who, in turn, claimed to have seen it.
2. Are they credible?
Next, just ask if the witness is credible or not. There may be situations in which there is a conflict of interest or the person has a history of lying under oath. Just because a witness says something does not mean that it is true or that it needs to be entered into court.
3. What type of evidence is it?
Finally, you just want to ask if the evidence is circumstantial or direct. This can change how it is applied and if it’s even going to be relevant to the case.
These questions can get you started, but they are certainly not everything you need to think about during a case. Be sure you understand your legal options thoroughly.