In the first place, it is no concern of yours, or of mine, why the Government chose not to indict certain persons or, if it did indict them, why it determined to treat them with leniency. That does not mean that you may disregard a witness's testimony just because he has made some mistake -even an important mistake - or because he has told a minor lie on some unimportant matter. [8] Mr. Margolies is now serving a 28-year Federal prison term for fraud. The witness, Alberto Torres, told a State Supreme Court jury in Manhattan that he lied when he told the grand jury on Nov. 18, 1982, that he did not know Irwin M. Margolies, the president of … Mr. Torres, a building superintendent and a friend of Henry Oestricher, Mr. Margolies's confidante, contradicted Mr. Oestricher's account of how the murders were arranged. The Kansas City Star that a federal investigator in the firefighters’ explosion case pressured them to lie. Witnesses including parties to the case provide testimony to the court that the judge and jury consider. Rather, it is a matter of discretion for the trier of fact (the jury in a jury trial or the court in a bench trial) to decide how credible the witness is in light of the lie. Witnesses (revised) ... Or, if you think the witness lied about some things, but told the truth about others, you may simply accept the part that you think is true and The Kansas City Star that a federal investigator in the firefighters’ explosion case pressured them to lie. How, then, do you determine the accuracy or reliability of any witness's testimony? 402, 411 (1978). Almost all of the important witnesses in this case were accomplices of one sort or another. Some witnesses obviously lied while testifying under oath to the Ferguson grand jury that ultimately declined to indict 18-year-old Michael Brown, said the St. Louis county prosecutor in charge of … There is a "charge" (instruction) a Judge will give the jury as a guide to how they can evaluate, or weigh, the strength of witness's tesimony, in their deliberations and thereby their verdict - That charge advises the jury that if they think a witness intentionally lied about even just one point or issue, they can choose to disregard that witness's entire testimony; or they can choose to believe one or more portions of that … This is obviously a factor you will take into account in determining the reliability of his testimony. See Mesarosh v. United States, 352 U.S. 1, 13-14 (1956) (refusing to credit witness’ testimony in defendant’s trial because of witness’s false testimony in other settings). Under cross-examination, Mr. Torres yesterday denied that Mr. Oestericher had asked him to find a killer. You may, as I've indicated, consider the interest any witness may have in the outcome of the action. It's an instruction that tells the jury that if they find a witness has testified falsely about one thing, they can, if they choose, disregard all of that witness' testimony as being unreliable and not credibile. You may consider whether a witness had, or did not have, a motive to lie. You don't automatically disregard their statements on that account, but you carefully consider the intensity of their interest and make a determination as to what extent, if any, it effects the reliability of what they are telling you. If I am your witness, and when you meet me I act like “2” or “4” in the above chart, your instinct as an attorney is going to say to you, “The jury is going to hate this witness.” You are not even aware of the “1” or the “3” in the chart who might be exactly who I need to be on the witness … Also, as I believe I told you when you were being selected, if you once come to the conclusion that an accomplice witness has given reliable testimony, you are required to act on it exactly as you would act on any other testimony you found to be reliable, even though you may thoroughly dislike the witness giving it to you. Some witnesses were clearly lying when they spoke to a grand jury about the August police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., according to … When witnesses testify to the court, they do so under oath. They also do so under the risk of facing criminal charges if they lie to the court. Mr. Margolies is charged with the murder of two of his employees, Margaret Barbera and Jenny Soo Chin, because he believed that they were cooperating with a Federal investigation into a $5.7 million fraud by his company. The law lays down several rules which govern you in the treatment of accomplice testimony. If a witness had a motive to lie, you may consider whether and to what extent, if any, that motive affected the truthfulness of that witness's testimony. Additional concerns arise when the prosecutor knowingly countenances false testimony. But in my general experience the much more common problem is to determine the extent of a witness's ability to have observed the matters about which he is testifying, the interest he may have in the outcome of the litigation, and the emotional impact that intervening events may have had on the witness's ability or willingness accurately to recall the matters about which he is testifying. Pretrial CALCRIM No. However, whether or not - and the extent to which - those observations are applicable to any witness in this case is entirely for you to say. They also do so under the risk of facing criminal charges if they lie to the court. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the principle functioned as a mandatory presumption that a witness was unreliable if they previously lied while offering testimony. Someone may tell you a lie that is so outrageous that ou just say to yourself, ''I'm not going to believe anything that person ever says again.'' Cross-examination is usually the most exciting part of a trial. Also, if the witness was not under oath and told a lie to the authorities that led to your arrest, the witness may have committed other offenses, like making a false police report. in considering the evidence you may find inconsistencies or discrepancies in the testimony of a witness, or between the testimony of different witnesses, which may or may not cause you, the jury, to discredit such testimony. Also, the law makes a specific provision that you may, if you wish, totally disregard a witnesss's entire testimony if you find that he has deliberately lied to you as to a … Likewise, at the O.J. "Clearly some were not telling the truth,” Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said in an interview with KTRS radio on Friday. That again is just how you would act in your daily lives. The Importance of Witness and Jury Eye Contact Credibility, straight and simple. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Mr. Oestericher has received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony at this trial. St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch told a St. Louis radio station on Friday that he knew some of the witnesses who testified before the Ferguson grand jury were lying. You may consider whether a witness had, or did not have, a motive to lie. However, that is not necessarily the case. The lies that a witness presents during a criminal trial can impact the conclusion of the case by swaying the decision of the judge or jury. Earlier, Mr. Oestericher told the jury that he, Mr. Margolies, Mr. Torres and Mr. Nash had conspired to commit the murders, that he had asked Mr. Torres to find a killer and that Mr. Torres had found Mr. Nash. Ferguson witnesses admit they lied to grand jury. In exercising your authority in this regard, perhaps the single most important thing you must consider is the credibility of the witnesses who appear before you. Obviously it is much more pleasant to be a witness than to be a defendant. That is entirely a matter for you to say. It is inherently dramatic because it is essentially a showdown between the lawyer and the witness. The witness, Alberto Torres, told a State Supreme Court jury in Manhattan that he lied when he told the grand jury on Nov. 18, 1982, that he did not know Irwin M. Margolies, the president of the diamond company. 1.7 credibility of witnesses In deciding the facts in this case, you may have to decide which testimony to believe and which testimony not to believe. By the early nineteenth century, English courts began instructing juries that they may presume a witness who testified falsely was unreliable, but such a presumption was not mandatory. And, a person wrongly convicted because of false testimony may be able to challenge the conviction on … To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. If a witness had a motive to lie, you may consider whether and to what extent, if any, that motive affected the truthfulness of that witness's testimony. Does he seem to be trying to give you information or persuade you of something? These circumstances could have affected Lindenauer in at least three possible ways. Under Missouri law, McCulloch would only implicate himself if he charged "Witness 40" or other witnesses with perjury if he "knowingly" allowed them to lie to the grand jury. A long testimony and then the opposing lawyer questioned the witness and then the court later discovered the witness lied about some parts of the testimony. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. If you acted on that assumption in daily life, you wouldn't pay much attention to anything that was ever said to you. In an interview with KTRS, McCulloch explained some of his decisions about the grand jury proceedings — including the fact that some witnesses lied under oath about what they saw. However, you … Is it up to the judge to discredit the entire witness testimony or up to the jury members whether or not to believe the testimony? Determining Reliability. Some face sentence, and some testified under grants of various types of immunity, which greatly reduced the possibility of their ever being prosecuted. witness who will lie about one fact will lie about others. An expert, however, can provide at least two additional valuable contributions to the trial attorney in complex cases. And today, one of the most interesting witnesses was the one the jury never laid eyes on: Mike McDaniel, David Camm's defense attorney in 2002, during his first trial. Those factors, in my experience, have usually been more important in influencing the accuracy of a witness's recollection and therefore of his testimony than a witness's present intention to tell an untruth. Five who testified in the case admit they lied to … The reason I don't like the word is that it implies that a witness who is not credible must somehow be lying, and that isn't necessarily so. If a witness did not have a motive to lie, you may consider that as well in evaluating the witness's truthfulness.4 MURDER TRIAL WITNESS SAYS HE LIED TO GRAND JURY. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. “Allowing §1983 actions against grand jury witnesses would … It is not for me to speculate as to whether you have found any or all of the witnesses in this case to have lied in the sense of having said things they knew to be untrue. Do not appear to be a "wise guy" or you will lose the respect of the judge and the jury. Most states require that a 12-person jury in a personal injury case be unanimous in finding for the plaintiff or the defendant, though some states allow for verdicts based on a majority as low as 9 to 3. Mr. Torres also told the jury that on April 12, 1982 - the day that Miss Barbera was shot and the three CBS employes were killed at a West Side parking lot while trying to help her - Mr. Nash returned to midtown and confessed to him that he ''just shot three people.'' Witnesses including parties to the case provide testimony to the court that the judge and jury consider. Stringent Requirements. An expert, however, can provide at least two additional valuable contributions to the trial attorney in complex cases. The law lays down certain guidelines for assisting you. ''You wouldn't commit crimes for Harry, would you?'' Criminal Jury Instructions approved by the Judicial Council of California at its September 2020 meeting. This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. When this happens in the American justice system, the witness’s testimony will not ordinarily be thrown out. Also I might point out to you that -exactly like it is in daily life - you don't necessarily have to believe anything that a person says to you simply because it is uncontradicted. So here, you need not necessarily accept any testimony simply because it is uncontradicted. And they all, in one way or another, could conceive it to be in their own best interests to achieve and retain the good will of the Government. Once the jury reaches a decision, the jury foreperson informs the judge, and the judge usually announces the verdict in open court. Or, they could have caused him to color existing facts to make appear to be more incriminatory than they actually were. By and large people only talk to you if they want you to act on what they say. The witness has since testified that Mr. Margolies met before the killings with Donald Nash, who has since been convicted of the murders. Robert Hill Schwartz, Mr. Margolies's lawyer, asked, referring to Mr. Oestericher. A Personal Interest. The decision of what persons should be prosecuted and what pleas of guilty should be accepted from persons who are indicted, are matters which the Constitution and statues of the United States have delegated to the Attorney General of the United States who, in turn, has delegated it to Mr. Giuliani and his counterparts in other judicial districts. Someone may say something to you which is wholly uncontradicted, but which nonetheless seems implausible to you. 728, 734 (1976), which is free to accept testimony in whole or in part, Commonwealth v. Fitzgerald,376 Mass. However, the law imposes upon you stringent requirements as to how you should evaluate such testimony before concluding it to be reliable. You should carefully consider what effect, if any, that interest may have had on his willingness or ability accurately to portray the facts about which he testified. A witness called by a direct examiner, on the other hand, may only be treated as hostile by that examiner after being permitted to do so by the judge, at the request of that examiner and as a result of the witness being openly antagonistic and/or prejudiced against the party that called them. Mr. Torres said Mr. Oestericher suggested Mr. Nash on his own. He later learned that Mrs. Chin was not a Federal witness. This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. I am going to discuss with you in some detail the testimony of the witness Lindenauer, not because I think his testimony is more important than any other witness - that is a question wholly within your province to determine - but simply because all attorneys in the case spent so much time on this particular aspect of his testimony that it lends iteslf to illustrating the principles involved. Some witnesses "clearly " lied to the St. Louis grand jury investigating the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., prosecutor Robert McCulloch said in an interview. Five who testified in the case admit they lied to … You may believe everything a witness … FERGUSON, Mo. Also, the law makes a specific provision that you may, if you wish, totally disregard a witnesss's entire testimony if you find that he has deliberately lied to you as to a matter of importance in the litigation. The Trayvon Martin case was built on a fraud, with a key witness being swapped out with an imposter when the real witness wouldn’t testify, George Zimmerman said in a lawsuit Wednesday. Or, on the other hand, they might have caused him to conclude that his best hope of salvation was to be able to convince the judge who will ultimately sentence him that he had been scrupulously honest in his testimony before you. On the other hand you might - after considering the extent of and motives for the lie - decide, ''Well, I'll be on my guard, but I'll continue to evaluate on its merits anything that person says.''. And the law requires that you scrupulously examine an accomplice's motives in persuading the Government to accept him as a witness rather than prosecute him as a defendant, to be sure that he has neither made up a story to incriminate someone nor colored the facts of an otherwise true story to make someone appear to be more guilty than he actually is. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Or, on the other hand, was he wholly at ease in recognizing uncertainty where it existed? I don't happen to like the word credibility, but I can't think of any other. A witness who is angry or upset may appear to be less than objective. The witness, Alberto Torres, told a State Supreme Court jury in Manhattan that he lied when he told the grand jury on Nov. 18, 1982, that he did not know Irwin M. Margolies, the president of … Communication research regarding non-verbal behavior over the years has been consistent on at least one finding – the power of eye contact. In the case of a witness how does his testimony on cross-examination compare with what was said on direct? Print A prosecution witness in Wilberto Melendez’s homicide trial testified Thursday that she lied to police and the jury. An accomplice is a person who is guilty of - and could be prosecuted for - any crime or crimes of which the defendants are accused. 105. Inconsistencies in a witness's testimony are a matter for the jury, Commonwealth v. Clary,388 Mass. While the Court's opinion certainly makes sense, we can't help sympathizing Rehberg. Did he appear certain about things that in your judgment he was in no position to have certain knowledge of? Lies and Mistakes. An expert witness can be of great help to the trial attorney in facili-tating jury comprehension of complex issues.3 The expert is usually cast in the role of expert witness testifying at trial. Following is an excerpt from the formal instruction given by Judge Whitman Knapp to the jury today in the trial of Stanley M. Friedman, the Bronx Democratic leader, and three co-defendants: As I've told you, you are the ultimate authority as to what facts have been proven in this case. If a witness took the stand and gave a testimony. I mentioned to you that you should consider the interest a witness might have had in testifying before you. In such circumstances you wouldn't act on it. But, of course, you don't have to do so. All these things which, it seems to me, would influence you in your daily lives in appraising the reliability of things that are said to you would influence you in appraising the reliability of testimony presented to you. You may consider whether the witness at some prior time made a statement - either under oath or not under oath - inconsistent with what he said on the witness stand. JUDGE'S CHARGE TO JURY ON WITNESS CREDIBILITY. Assessing Lindenauer. ''I wouldn't commit crimes for anybody,'' Mr. Torres replied. See the article in its original context from. In the first place, Lindenauer told you that he had lived a life characterized by acts of wrongdoing, many of which involved deception. There is a latin phrase that is used in law here in NY for this legal instruction and it's called 'Falsus in Uno'. Did his attitude seem materially to change between direct and cross-examination? “Neither is there any reason to distinguish law enforce­ment witnesses from lay witnesses.” Alito also noted that allowing civil actions against grand jury witnesses could subvert grand jury secrecy. Your belief that it conveys that seems to be based on implicature: the judge would not feel compelled to mention it unless they thought the witness is lying. consider the credibility of a witness in the light of contradictory testimony, if any. The St. Louis County prosecutor in the grand jury that acquitted Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson said that some of the witnesses called lied under oath. Also, if the witness was not under oath and told a lie to the authorities that led to your arrest, the witness may have committed other offenses, like making a false police report. It simply means that if you conclude he has deliberately sought to deceive you on an important matter, you may if you wish totally disregard such witness's entire testimony. When witnesses testify to the court, they do so under oath. Rather, it is a matter of discretion for the trier of fact (the jury in a jury trial or the court in a bench trial) to decide how credible the witness is in light of the lie. An expert witness can be of great help to the trial attorney in facili-tating jury comprehension of complex issues.3 The expert is usually cast in the role of expert witness testifying at trial. Lawyers aren't cheap, and he endured multiple grand jury proceedings because of Paul's testimony. Mr. Torres has received immunity from prosecution except for perjury. ''He never said that, no.''. But obviously the mere fact that he has an interest would not entitle you to disregard his testimony. Certain witnesses who spoke before the grand jury investigating the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown told obvious lies under oath, St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney … Most states require that a 12-person jury in a personal injury case be unanimous in finding for the plaintiff or the defendant, though some states allow for verdicts based on a majority as low as 9 to 3. Naturally he has a very real personal interest in the outcome of this trial. And, a person wrongly convicted because of false testimony may be able to challenge the conviction on … Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. If a witness never looks at the jury, it will negatively impact his believability and, consequently, his credibility. The lawsuit says Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend, a vivacious 16-year-old named Brittany Diamond Eugene, when Zimmerman killed him on Feb. 26, 2012. Affecting the outcome of jury … I now turn to the question of accomplices. Some witnesses were clearly lying when they spoke to a grand jury about the August police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., according to … The Court also pointed out that witnesses who lie to the grand jury are subject to criminal prosecution. The foregoing principles apply in varying degrees to all the so-called accomplice witnesses. If a witness did not have a motive to lie, you may consider that as well in evaluating the witness's truthfulness.4 583, 589 (1983); Commonwealth v. Dabrieo,370 Mass. Lying is saying something you know to be untrue at the time you are saying it. It is an awesome responsibility, but the Constitution and statutes do not give you or me any authority to supervise its exercise. When this happens in the American justice system, the witness’s testimony will not ordinarily be thrown out. Housekeeping Measures. In the second place, he was able to negotiate a plea which considerably reduced the total scope of the sentences that might have been imposed upon him had he been convicted of all his wrongdoing; and, finally, he hopes - as he specifically told you - that the testimony he gave in this case will induce the judge before whom he pleaded guilty to be lenient in imposing sentence. You do so in the exact same way that in your daily life you determine to what extent you can rely on something that is being or has been said to you. A prosecution witness testified yesterday that he had lied before a state grand jury investigating the murders of two employees of a diamond company and three CBS employees ''because I feared for my life.''. How in general does the speaker impress you? Mr. Torres said Mr. Nash looked ''very upset and very nervous.''. Well, one witness who clearly had such an interest is the defendant Friedman, who testified on his own behalf. It can get especially exciting if the lawyer thinks the witness lied on direct examination and the lawyer tries to expose the lie to the jury during his or her cross-examination. See the article in its original context from. If you are testifying before the grand jury, there will not be a defense attorney present. Witnesses Lied Under Oath In Ferguson Grand Jury, Prosecutor Says The St. Louis County prosecutor in the grand jury that acquitted Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson said that some of the witnesses called lied under oath. Once the jury reaches a decision, the jury foreperson informs the judge, and the judge usually announces the verdict in open court. Also, you might consider the extent to which any particular testimony fits in with all the other evidence in the case. There is nothing in the literal meanings of the words that says that the witness is lying. They could have caused him to make up imaginary facts in order to incriminate some or all of the defendants. 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