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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 29786
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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When in court, there are rules you can and can't bring up.

Customer Question

When in court, there are rules for what you can and can't bring up. If someone is charged with a crime and the person accusing them has a history of reporting false claims, what is the best way of entering that into the case. As I understand it, something those statements could be considered defamatory and may not be allowed for whatever reason.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Statements made in court are privileged from being used as the basis for a defamation action. Also, defamatory statements are, by definition, false. The alleged victim can't get a defamation judgment against you if you introduce truthful information in court.

One objection they may try to enter is hearsay - an out-of-court statement being used to prove the truth of the contents of the statement. However, you're actually introducing her statements NOT to prove they're true. You're trying to prove that she lied. So, you should be able to overcome a hearsay objection. They might also try to object on relevance, but you can counter that with the fact that the witness's credibility is a key issue for the jury to decide. The fact that she has a pattern of false claims IS probative of her truthfulness in your case.

Usually, the witness would be asked questions about the prior claims, and then you could show her the prior reports to refresh her memory if she claims she doesn't know, or you can ask the judge to admit them into evidence. But there has to be a foundation, which means talking to the witness about the evidence before you give it to the court.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. If I did not address the specific thing that you wanted to know, it may not have come across clearly to me, so please restate that question. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So, if I am speaking to the judge, not a jury, and I am making a case for why something should be removed from record partly because the claimant has a history of making false claims against other parties, are you saying the best way to do that would be just to bring it up or would I be able to introduce items from other cases such as reports she made to police officers that were later retracted?

Thanks for your continued help!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If you're arguing to the judge that her evidence shouldn't even be seen, that's done using a Motion to Suppress. But in most cases, where there's conflicting evidence about something, that has to be presented at the trial. Credibility of witnesses is something that MUST be determined by the jury (or, in a bench trial, but the judge, but still not before the trial begins).