What Makes a Defense Witness Credible? | Criminal Defense Lawyer
When it comes to criminal cases, witness testimony can be one of the most compelling pieces of evidence; however, not all witnesses are always trustworthy. While it remains up to the jurors to determine to what degree they believe a defense witness in a jury trial, they should always evaluate the overall credibility of the witness when coming to a final verdict. Our criminal defense lawyers at the McConnell Law Firm have years of experience defending falsely accused clients and have detailed what makes a defense witness credible. Learn more below!
The Impact of Witness Testimony
In criminal court proceedings, witness testimony is a critical component in proving the innocence or guilt of a defendant, and sometimes a witness’ testimony is the only source of a specific piece of information. Although there may also be accompanying physical evidence, witnesses are considered the storytellers explaining a consistent and coherent narrative influencing the jury. Despite the published research regarding false recollection, juries continue to place an increasingly high value on eyewitness testimony, making it important to understand the reliability of a witness.
What Makes a Defense Witness Credible?
When evaluating witness credibility, a variety of factors may make the witness appear reliable in the eyes of the jury. While credibility can ultimately be a subjective question, some variables factoring into the trustworthiness or believability of a witness’ testimony include the following:
Vested Interest—It’s important to evaluate any previous biases the witness may have, such as the testimony of a significant other, parent, or friend. Due to the close relationship, an individual may have a vested interest in helping or hurting the defendant through their testimony, making them less credible than others who have no association with the defendant. Generally speaking, a witness with no previous interaction with the defendant would likely be viewed as more reliable or trustworthy than somebody of close relation with a vested interest in the outcome of the case.
Mental and Physical Well-Being—Most juries will also take into account the mental and physical well-being of a witness, as it can be helpful when a witness is more mentally sharp when recounting a story. If an individual seems to have a memory issue due to aging, or a physical impairment such as vision issues, their testimony may not be as credible.
Story Consistency—It’s no secret that testimony appears more reliable if it remains consistent throughout the case and questioning. If a witness is found continually changing their initial recount of events or making contradictions while being questioned, their credibility will decrease.
Have You Been Accused?
If you have been falsely accused of committing a crime or have been called to testify as a witness to a crime and feel you need the support of a criminal defense attorney, we encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm as soon as possible. While every case is different, and no conclusions should be drawn without first consulting a Wichita criminal defense lawyer about the specifics of your case, it is always in your best interest to have a skilled attorney by your side from the beginning.
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Do you or a loved one need the assistance of an experienced Wichita criminal defense lawyer? We encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm at (316) 243-5903 for a free consultation.Contact Us
Jonathan W. McConnell and his team have become well-known for their expert knowledge and unmatched tenacity. They have been rated highly by the public and their peers on many prestigious legal directories and professional organizations.
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