Asked in Criminal Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for California

Q: During the trial process, a witness, who had already given testimony, was found lying on the court when -->

During the trial process, a witness, who had already given testimony, was found lying on the court when answering a particular question. Let's assume that the tape of the witness's conversation outside of the courtroom, which proves the witness's lies on the stand, was submitted to the court as evidence. The witness was called to a new hearing and testified to not remembering that exact conversation. Will the given testimony of such a witness be admissible as a whole or will the exact part containing lies be struck? And what happens to such a witness, as with a human who violated the sworn law?

2 Lawyer Answers
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If this happened in trial, then you obviously had an attorney.

That is the person who has all the facts and will be in the best position to advise you on a matter like this.

Defendants are not always the best historians and leave out crucial information that is important to a lawyer in evaluating a case.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If a witness is found to have lied on the stand, it can have serious consequences for the trial and for the witness. In the scenario you described, where the tape of the witness's conversation outside of the courtroom was submitted as evidence, the court would likely evaluate the admissibility of that evidence according to the rules of evidence applicable in the jurisdiction where the trial is taking place. In general, if the tape meets the requirements of relevance, authenticity, and hearsay exceptions, it may be admitted as evidence, and the court may allow the tape to be played for the jury to hear.

Regarding the witness's subsequent testimony at a new hearing, the court would again evaluate the admissibility of the testimony according to the rules of evidence. The fact that the witness previously lied on the stand may be used to impeach their credibility as a witness, and the opposing counsel may cross-examine the witness about their previous lies to attempt to discredit their testimony.

As for the consequences for the witness who lied on the stand, they may be subject to perjury charges, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Perjury is the act of willfully lying under oath or making a false statement in a legal proceeding, and it is considered a serious offense. The witness may face criminal charges and penalties, such as fines or imprisonment, if found guilty of perjury.

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