word meaning someone who doesn't cooperate with lawyer when testifying

by Cecile Hills 5 min read

Can a spouse refuse to testify against one another?

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.

What makes someone unavailable for out-of-court testimony?

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.

Is it a crime to try and prevent a witness from testifying?

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.

What are the defenses to refusing to testify?

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?


Who are the liar type of witnesses?

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.

When you refuse to testify in court that is called what?

A refusal to testify is considered civil contempt. But even civil contempt is considered quasi-criminal in nature.

What is the term for discrediting a witness?

(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.

What is a hostile witness called?

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.

How do you refuse testify?

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.

What happens if you ignore a subpoena?

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.

What does Rule 608 mean?

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.

What is bolstering a witness?

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.

What is the Brady rule?

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.

What is badgering a witness?

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.

Who is a refractory witness?

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.

What is the difference between perjury and hostile witness?

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.

in default

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

What is a crime to try and prevent a witness from testifying?

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.

Why is refusing to testify considered contempt?

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).

What is a written order for contempt of court?

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.

What happens if a witness refuses to testify?

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 ...

What is the penalty for refusing to testify in court?

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.

How long can a judge jail a witness who refuses to testify?

Further, a witness who refuses to testify can be jailed until the court proceeding or trial is complete.

Is contempt of court considered a criminal offense?

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.

What is the appellant in a lawsuit?

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.

Who decides where to bring a lawsuit?

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.

What is bail in criminal law?

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.

What is the difference between acquittal and affidavit?

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.

What is the power of an appellate court?

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.

What is the charge to the jury?

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.

What is capital offense?

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.

Why do witnesses refuse to testify?

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.

What makes a witness unavailable?

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).

What does it mean when a court admits an out-of-court statement?

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.

What does "unavailable" mean in the Federal Rules of Evidence?

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, ...

Why is a statement made under circumstances that point to its reliability?

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.

Why exclude out of court statements?

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 ...

What does it mean when someone is dead?

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.

How to be courteous to a lawyer?

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.

How to represent you in court?

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.

What happens if a lawyer violates the rules?

If your lawyer violates these rules, he or she can be disciplined or even face a legal malpractice suit.

What are the rules of professional conduct?

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).

What is the crime fraud exception?

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.

What is attorney-client privilege?

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.

Can a lawyer reveal the content of a conversation?

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.”.

Which office has the discretion to deny a challenge?

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.

What is an affidavit of insolvency?

Affidavit of Insolvency - A detailed form signed by the defendant, under oath, attesting to his/her indigency (inability to pay for private legal counsel).

What is bail in court?

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.

What is an arrest warrant?

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.

What is an appeal in civil court?

Appeal - An application to a higher court for review of an order of conviction or of a civil judgment against a party.

What does amend mean in court?

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.

What is the meaning of aid and abet?

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.

What happens if a defendant pled not guilty?

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.

What is case law?

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 ...

What is an affidavit in court?

Affidavit: A term you’ve likely heard referenced often, an affidavit is simply a written or printed statement made under oath.

What is bench trial vs jury trial?

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.

What is the difference between a subpoena and a summons?

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.

What is a recusal in court?

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.

What is the difference between discovery and extradition?

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.

Why does my opponent keep objecting to my testimony?

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.

Why is speculation a legal basis for objecting to witness testimony on grounds similar to the argumentative objection?

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).

What is the skill of mastering common objections in court?

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;

Why are courtroom objections important?

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).

How often did a witness get under the car?

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.

What happens if you don't master all the common courtroom 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.

What is a lack of foundation objection?

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.