Witness Intimidation Laws
What is the definition of witness intimidation?The definition of witness intimidation involves threatening or extortion of witnesses that are crucial to court proceedings in order to make them not testify. If a key witness in a court proceeding refuses to testify it can render the case with not enough physical evidence invalid in court. In some cases, such as cases in which organized crime is involved, where the threat for retaliation or intimidation are very likely, the witness may be placed in the witness protection program to avoid such actions upon them.
Is witness intimation a felony in a civil case in the state of Kansas?Depending on the circumstances of the witness intimidation it can either be classified as a misdemeanor a felony. Kansas Statute 21-3832 deals with the general law on witness intimidation and is considered a class B misdemeanor. It states that witness intimidation is where someone knowingly tries to prevent a witness for testifying, placing charges, reporting victimization to the proper authorities. Another statute in Kansas, Statute 21-3833 deals with aggravated witness intimidation and is considered a severity level 6, person felony. It states that aggravated witness intimidation is an action that implies a threat of force or of violence against a witness, the witness’s property, the victim or another person. The act can be a continuation of a conspiracy, or the witness or victim is under the age of 18. On top of all this there are also civil remedies for witness intimidation.
Can a person who has already filed a complaint decides not to press charges because someone has been threatening them about pressing charges?Once a complaint has been filed, the right to file charges has been taken out of the hands of the victim and placed with the district attorney. The district attorney does not require the permission of the victim to continue with the criminal investigation and prosecution. If someone is threatening the victim about pressing charges this is considered witness intimidation and is illegal. Any reports of threats need to be directed to law enforcement and the district attorney.
Is it illegal if a victim approaches the accused and if the accuser pays them they will not testify against them?If the accused pays the victim to not testify against them and even gets it in writing, it can still be considered witness intimidation. The victim can use against the accuser saying they were forced to sign the note and were paid off. The accuser should contact their attorney and make them aware of what the victim or witness is offering. Their attorney may then present it to the district attorney.
What happens a minor is subpoenaed and doesn’t got court because they are scared of retaliation by the accused and their friends?A body attachment may be issued by the judge, which would allow for law enforcement to take the juvenile into juvenile custody to be brought forth to the judge for the failure to respond to the subpoena. It is also possible that the judge may order that the juvenile be detained until the trial to make sure that they do appear at court. If the juvenile feels threatened by the accused or friends of the accused then the district attorney needs to be notified, as this may constitute witness intimidation. It should also be noted that the parents of the minor may suffer consequences for not making sure that the minor appeared in court.
Witness intimidation is much like any part of the law process, not many people now that much about it and don’t feel they need to until it applies to them or someone that they know. When someone needs answers or wants to know something about witness intimidation the best thing to do is ask the Experts.