Under the Federal Rules (Rule 804(a)), this makes the witness unavailable, even if the government offers immunity in exchange for testimony. Invoking the spousal privilege. Federal and state laws allow spouses to refuse to testify against one another. Refusing to testify concerning the subject matter of the statement.
A person who is dead is obviously unavailable, but so too is someone who is physically or mentally incapable of testifying as to the subject matter of the out-of-court statement. Failure or refusal to come to court.
It is a crime to try and prevent a witness from testifying. It doesn’t matter if it is your case or someone else’s. Under Penal Code 136.1, it is a crime to knowingly prevent or dissuade a witness from: attending or testifying at any judicial proceeding.
There are defenses to refusing to testify but they should be presented to the court at the time of refusing. They include: questions are not material. Is it a Crime for a Victim or Witness to Refuse to Testify?
Hostile & Untrustworthy – These types of witnesses purposely lie in an attempt to disrupt the investigation. If it has been determined that this person is lying, the next step should be to find out why.
A refusal to testify is considered civil contempt. But even civil contempt is considered quasi-criminal in nature.
(1) The credibility of a witness may be impeached by evidence that has a tendency in reason to discredit the truthfulness or accuracy of the witness's testimony. (2) Evidence of impeachment may be used in the cross- examination of a witness.
A witness who testifies against the party who has called the person to testify. The examiner may ask a hostile witness leading questions, as in cross-examination. Also called an adverse witness.
The testimony would incriminate yourself – Under the Fifth Amendment in the Constitution, you have the right to avoid giving any evidence that could self-incriminate you. In most cases, you can plead the Fifth Amendment, which legally allows you to refuse answering questions.
If you ignore or defy a subpoena, the court that demanded your presence can find you in contempt. A fine or jail time is possible. In the case of defying a Congressional subpoena, the committee that issued to subpoena votes to issue a contempt citation, and then the full chamber votes on it.
Rule 608(b) is an explicit acknowledgement that every witness who testifies places their character for truthfulness or untruthfulness at issue. An effective cross-examination, therefore, should seek to invoke Rule 608(b) broad grant of authority to test a witness's general character for truthfulness.
Bolstering means to build up or support. Bolstering testimony is generally improper. Bolstering testimony is improper when it relates to the witness's truthfulness on a specific occasion and when the foundational requirements of evidentiary rules are not met.
The Brady Rule, named after Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government's possession to the defense.
Badgering the witness is an objection that counsel can make during a cross-examination of a witness where opposing counsel becomes hostile or asks argumentative questions.
From the foregoing, it is clear that a refractory witness is one who, when summoned to appear or while in court and is required to give evidence, refuses to be sworn, or after being sworn refuses to answer questions put to him, or refuses to produce a document or exhibit that is required of him.
Hostility is one form of perjury. A hostile witness is one who's provided an eyewitness account of a criminal event or other information to help the prosecution build a case, but has later turned in court, giving a different version of events or contradictory information.
the position of someone who has not done something that they were officially ordered to do
formal behaviour in which you refuse to obey or show respect for someone who has authority over you
a policy of not doing the things that someone wants you to do, especially as a type of protest
Under Penal Code 136.1, it is a crime to knowingly prevent or dissuade a witness from: reporting a crime, aiding in the arrest process, aiding in the prosecution process, OR.
Otherwise, people would not take testifying seriously. Refusing to testify is considered direct contempt because it is committed in the presence of the judge. A judge can immediately punish someone who refuses to testify (See CCP1218).
To be a valid order for criminal contempt, the written contempt order must specify: the underlying facts for refusing to testify, the court’s ruling on the refusal to testify claim, the witness was represented by an attorney.
If a witness in a criminal case refuses to testify, he or she could be found in contempt of court (Penal Code 166 PC). Being found in contempt of court can result in jail time and/or a fine. A victim in a domestic violence or sexual assault case, however, cannot be jailed for refusing to testify. But the victim/witness could still be held in ...
If found guilty, the punishment for refusing to testify under Penal Code 166 is up to: six months jail, a $1,000 fine. There are defenses to refusing to testify but they should be presented to the court at the time of refusing.
Further, a witness who refuses to testify can be jailed until the court proceeding or trial is complete.
Contempt may be civil or criminal in nature. It depends on whether the court’s purpose is: to pressure or coerce (civil), to punish (criminal). A refusal to testify is considered civil contempt. But even civil contempt is considered quasi-criminal in nature.
To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal.". Both the plaintiff and the defendant can appeal, and the party doing so is called the appellant. Appeals can be made for a variety of reasons including improper procedure and asking the court to change its interpretation of the law.
The plaintiff initially decides where to bring the suit, but in some cases, the defendant can seek to change the court. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases. A federal court in one state, for example, can usually only decide a case that arose from actions in that state.
bail - Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his/her appearance on the day and time appointed.
A. acquittal - Judgment that a criminal defendant has not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. affidavit - A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it. Affidavits must be notarized or administered by an officer of the court with such authority.
appellate - About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgment of another lower court or tribunal. arraignment - A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
charge to the jury - The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial. chief judge - The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court. The chief judge also decides cases, and the choice of chief judges is determined by seniority.
capital offense - A crime punishable by death. In the federal system, it applies to crimes such as first degree murder, genocide, and treason. case law - The use of court decisions to determine how other law (such as statutes) should apply in a given situation.
Witnesses sometimes simply refuse to testify, despite the court’s order to do so, and without claiming any recognized privileges. When this happens, they are often held in contempt of court, but in addition, they become an “unavailable witness” for purposes of introducing their out-of-court statements. Lack of memory.
All of the ways in which a witness can be deemed “unavailable” share one characteristic: The circumstances that render the witness unavailable are due to the witness’s own decisions (taking the Fifth) or to matters beyond his control (infirmity, memory lack, and so on).
A court may decide to admit an out-of-court statement from an unavailable witness, offered by the prosecution against the defendant, if it is convinced that the statement is sufficiently reliable . ( Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56 (1980) .) Judges look for “indicia of reliability,” which means that the statement must have been made in circumstances that point to its truthfulness. For example, earlier testimony under oath by someone in another proceeding may be reliable if the speaker was subject to cross-examination at the time, by a cross-examiner whose interests were similar to those of the defendant in the current case.
The balance of this section explains what the term “unavailable” means, according to the Federal Rules of Evidence. Later, we’ll look at the exceptions. Taking the Fifth. A witness can refuse to take the stand by invoking the privilege against self-incrimination. Under the Federal Rules (Rule 804 (a)), this makes the witness unavailable, ...
The reason being the statement was made under circumstances that point to its reliability, especially when cross-examination touched on issues also present in the current case. A statement under the belief of impending death. Courts admit statements made by people who are facing death, or reasonably think they are.
A second reason for excluding out-of-court statements comes from the law concerning hearsay statements. The “rule against hearsay” is a rule of evidence that excludes statements that were made out of court and are offered to prove the truth of what they say. Rules of evidence exclude them because they are not trustworthy—the statements might not ...
A person who is dead is obviously unavailable, but so too is someone who is physically or mentally incapable of testifying as to the subject matter of the out-of-court statement. Failure or refusal to come to court. Some witnesses can’t be found, or can’t be reached with a subpoena that would order them to court.
Be courteous to your lawyer and his or her team. Don’t ask your lawyer to do anything illegal or unethical. Pay your legal bills in a timely manner. These duties are often implied as part of the attorney-client relationship, even if you didn’t expressly agree to them in a retainer agreement.
represent you competently, zealously, and within the bounds of the law. keep conversations with you confidential, except in specific and rare occasions. communicate with you in a timely and effective manner. keep you informed of developments in your case.
If your lawyer violates these rules, he or she can be disciplined or even face a legal malpractice suit.
Each state has its own ethical rules for lawyers, called the rules of professional conduct. When lawyers fail to live up to this code of conduct, the state disciplinary board can take action against them—from a simple warning to disbarment (losing the license to practice law forever).
This is called the “crime-fraud exception.”. For example, if you tell your lawyer that you plan on murdering someone tomorrow, your lawyer can alert the authorities. However, the rule generally does not apply to discussions of past criminal acts, unless the purpose is to cover up the crime.
When you seek advice from an attorney about a legal matter, your private communications with your lawyer are protected by the attorney-client privilege. This means that your lawyer cannot reveal any information that you disclose to him or her in confidence, unless you give your express permission.
Except for some very limited exceptions, even a court of law can’t force your lawyer to reveal the content of your discussions. The privilege does not, however, apply to communications for the purpose of committing a crime or an act of fraud. This is called the “crime-fraud exception.”.
The judge has the discretion to deny the challenge. Distinguished from peremptory challenge, which they party can usually exercise as a matter of right. Chambers - A judge’s private office. A hearing in chambers takes place in the judge’s office outside of the presence of the jury and the public.
Affidavit of Insolvency - A detailed form signed by the defendant, under oath, attesting to his/her indigency (inability to pay for private legal counsel).
Bail - Cash or surety posted to procure the release of a defendant in a criminal proceeding by insuring his/her future attendance in court, and compelling him/her to remain within the jurisdiction of the court.
Arrest Warrant – An order by a judge that gives permission for a police officer to arrest a person for allegedly committing a crime. Assault - Threat to inflict injury with an apparent ability to do so. Also, any intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.
Appeal - An application to a higher court for review of an order of conviction or of a civil judgment against a party.
Amend – Improve, correct or change a complaint or other pleading. Amicus Curiae - A friend of the court. One not a party to a case who volunteers, or is asked by the court, to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it.
Aid and Abet - To actively, knowingly or intentionally assist another person in the commission or attempted commission of a crime. Alford Plea - A plea to a criminal charge that does not admit guilt, but admits that sufficient evidence exists to obtain a conviction.
If the defendant pled “not guilty,” then the judge will use the pretrial hearing to set a date for the trial. Additionally, this hearing allows legal teams to challenge the permissibility of evidence, come to settlement agreements and discuss other important pretrial matters.
Case law is a way of citing legal precedent. Civil case vs. criminal case: The most commonly cited distinction between civil and criminal cases is that the latter are generally offenses ...
Affidavit: A term you’ve likely heard referenced often, an affidavit is simply a written or printed statement made under oath.
jury trial: While a jury trial is exactly what it sounds like—a traditional court trial in which the case’s outcome is decided by a jury of peers—a bench trial is a trial in which the judge fulfills the role of the jury.
summons: While both entail a requirement for the recipient to appear in court, a subpoena is a process that directs a witness to give testimony or submit evidence, while a summons is a document that orders a person to appear before the court in response to a complaint.
Recusal: A recusal is the voluntary action by a judge or prosecutor to remove themselves from presiding in a case. Recusals are often based on things like bias, conflict of interest or prejudice—for example, a state prosecutor may choose to recuse from a proceeding if the case is against their former employer.
Discovery: All procedures used to obtain evidence prior to going to trial are considered discovery. Extradition: An extradition is when one state surrenders an accused or convicted person to another state because the offense in reference was committed outside its own territory.
Plus, if you want introduce valid evidence or testimony — and your opponent keeps objecting because you don't know how to handle common objections in court — you'll never have the chance to introduce important evidence supporting your version of the facts to the judge or jury. Mastering common objections in court is as much a skill as it is an art.
Speculation is a legal basis for objecting to witness testimony on grounds similar to the argumentative objection — because the evidence is not considered reliable or factual. A witness' testimony is limited to their personal knowledge of events (estimating is allowed, but most opinions are not).
Mastering common objections in court is as much a skill as it is an art. This means that you CAN learn how to: Identify when you should object to testimony from a witness and when you should object to inappropriate questioning by the opposing attorney;
Courtroom objections are an essential component of trial. Lack of experience with courtroom objections could destroy your chances of winning your case. You don't want to give your opponent in court free rein to introduce improper evidence (or ask inappropriate questions of witnesses).
The witness never said he got under the car twice a week — only that someone checked the brakes twice a week. If you'd like additional tips on how to identify questions that may be objectionable as argumentative, you can check out Trial Objections 101: Making and Responding to Objections.
But if you don't master (or at least begin to master) all of the common courtroom objections, you will likely have difficulty proving your claims or defenses in court.
A common lack of foundation objection occurs when a party asks a question, but has not shown the court why the witness is qualified to answer the question. Basic foundations that need to be established before the question is permissible might include personal knowledge and familiarity with the topic.