In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. The words "testimony" and "testify" both derive from the Latin word testis, referring to the notion of a disinterested third-party witness. In the law, testimony is a form of evidence, obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. Testimony may be oral or written, it is made by oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury. To be admissible in court and for maximum reliability and validity, written testimony is witnessed by one or more persons who swear or affirm its authenticity under penalty of perjury. Unless a witness is testifying as an expert witness, testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is limited to those opinions or inferences that are rationally based on the perceptions of the witness and are helpful to a clear understanding of the witness' testimony. Legitimate expert witnesses with a genuine understanding of legal process and the inherent dangers of false or misleading testimony refrain from making statements of fact.
They recognize that they are in fact not witnesses to an alleged crime or other event in any way, shape or form. Their expertise is in relevant facts in the case, they should make no firm judgement or claim or accusation about any aspect of the case outside their narrow range of expertise. They should not allege any fact they can't and credibly prove scientifically. For example, a hair sample from a crime scene entered as evidence by the prosecution should be described by an expert witness as "consistent with" a sample collected from the defendant, rather than being described as a "match". A wide range of factors make it physically impossible to prove for certain that two hair or tissue samples came from a common source. Having not witnessed the defendant at the scene, the expert witness can not state for a fact that the sample is a match to the defendant when the samples were collected at different times and different places by different collectors using different collection methods; the testimony of expert witnesses is regarded as supportive of evidence rather than evidence in and of itself, a good defense attorney will point out that the expert witness is not in fact a witness to anything, but rather an observer.
When a witness is asked a question, the opposing attorney can raise an objection, a legal move to disallow or prevent an improper question to others, preferably before the witness answers, mentioning one of the standard reasons, including: argumentative asked and answered best evidence rule calls for speculation calls for a conclusion compound question or narrative hearsay inflammatory incompetent witness irrelevant, immaterial. Lack of foundation leading question privilege vague ultimate issue testimonyThere may be an objection to the answer, including: non-responsiveUp until the mid-20th century, in much of the United States, an attorney had to follow an objection with an exception to preserve the issue for appeal. If an attorney failed to "take an exception" after the court's ruling on the objection, he waived his client's right to appeal the issue. Exceptions have since been abolished, due to the widespread recognition that forcing lawyers to take them was a waste of time; when a party uses the testimony of a witness to show proof, the opposing party attempts to impeach the witness.
This may be done using cross-examination, calling into question the witness's competence, or by attacking the character or habit of the witness. So, for example, if a witness testifies that he remembers seeing a person at 2:00 pm on a Tuesday and his habit is to be at his desk job on Tuesday the opposing party would try to impeach his testimony related to that event. Christians in general within the Evangelical tradition, use the term "to testify" or "to give one's testimony" to mean "to tell the story of how one became a Christian", it may refer to a specific event in a Christian's life in which they believe God did something deemed worth sharing. Christians give their testimony at their own baptism or at evangelistic events. Many Christians have published their testimonies on the internet. Many holiness churches devote a portion of their mid-week service to allow members to give a personal testimony about their faith and experiences in living the Christian life. In the Religious Society of Friends, the word testimony is used to refer to the ways in which Friends testify or bear witness to their beliefs in their everyday lives.
In this context, the word testimony refers not to the underlying belief, but the committed action which arises out of their beliefs, which testifies to their beliefs. Common areas which modern Friends are said to testify are testimony towards peace, testimony to simplicity, testimony to truth and integrity, testimony to equality. In some religions many adherents testify as a profession of their faith to a congregation of believers. In Mormonism, testifying is referred to as "bearing one's testimony," and involves the sharing of personal experience—ranging from a simple anecdote to an account of personal revelation—followed by a statement of belief, confirmed by this experience. Within Mormon culture, the word "testimony" has
Witness impeachment, in the law of evidence of the United States, is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual testifying in a trial. The Federal Rules of Evidence contain the rules governing impeachment in US federal courts. Under the common law of England, a party could not impeach its own witness unless one of four special circumstances was met; the Voucher Rule required the proponent of the witness to "vouch" for the truthfulness of the witness. Here are the special circumstances: If the witness were an adverse party. If the witness were hostile. If the witness were one that the party was required by law to call as a witness. If the witness surprised the party who called him by giving damaging testimony against that party; the rule has been eliminated in many jurisdictions. Under the US Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 607 permits any party to attack the credibility of any witness. In the US, a party has the option of discrediting a witness through impeachment by cross-examining the witness about facts that reflect poorly on the witness's credibility or, in some cases, by introducing extrinsic evidence that reflects negatively on the witness's truthfulness or knowledge.
In Pennsylvania, the procedure for determining whether a testifying defendant may be impeached is known as a Bighum hearing. A party may impeach a witness in the US by introducing evidence of any of the following Courts permit parties to cross-examine a witness in order to impeach that witness based on demonstration of bias. Witness bias may be catalyzed by any number of circumstances, ranging from the witness's blood relationship to a party to his financial stake in the outcome of the litigation. Most US jurisdictions require a cross-examiner to lay a foundation before extrinsic evidence can be used to demonstrate bias for impeachment purposes. Although Rule 610 provides that evidence of a witness's "religious beliefs or opinions is not admissible to attack or support the witness's credibility," an inquiry into the witness's religious beliefs or opinions for the purpose of showing interest or bias because of them is not within the rule's prohibition. If a witness is accused of bias, there is an opportunity to cross-examine during the current trial, any statements made at a previous trial/hearing and which are consistent with the testimony at the present trial are admissible, not hearsay.
A party may impeach a witness by introducing those of his prior statements that are inconsistent with his current testimony at trial. In a minority of jurisdictions that follow FRE 801, the prior inconsistent statement may be used not only to impeach but as substantive evidence. A prior inconsistent statement is admissible as substantive evidence if the statement was given under penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding or in a deposition. A prior inconsistent statement offered for impeachment purposes is admissible regardless of whether it satisfies those requirements; the cross-examining attorney need not disclose or show the contents of a prior inconsistent statement to a witness prior to the moment he is questioned. If the witness's attorney asks to see the prior inconsistent statement, the questioning attorney must show or disclose its contents; the majority of US jurisdictions permit parties to impeach witnesses by demonstrating their "bad" character regarding truthfulness.
Under the Federal Rules a party may demonstrate that by opinion testimony. That is, a witness's credibility cannot be bolstered, only impeached. Additionally, a party may impeach a witness for "bad" character by introducing evidence of the witness's prior conviction of a crime, subject to a series of rules laid out in 609. If the witness's prior conviction was for a crime involving dishonesty or false statement, evidence of that crime is admissible for impeachment purposes regardless of whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. If the witness's prior conviction was for a crime not involving dishonesty or false statement, evidence of the conviction is admissible for impeachment only for felonies. Furthermore, if the cross-examining party seeks to introduce evidence of a felony not involving dishonesty or false statement, its success in impeaching the witness will depend on whether the witness is the defendant or not. If the witness is defendant, the burden is on the prosecution to show that the probative value of the impeachment outweighs the danger of unfair prejudice to the defendant.
The probative value must outweigh unfair prejudice. If the witness is a person other than the defendant, the evidence of the prior felony conviction for a crime not involving dishonesty or false statement is admissible unless the party objecting to the evidence succeeds in the more difficult task of proving that the probative value of the felony conviction is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the defendant; the probative value must outweigh unfair prejudice. If a conviction is more than 10 years old, the probative value of admitting the conviction must outweigh the danger of unfair prejudice under FRE 609 A party may impeach a witness for character by cross-examining the witness but not by introducing extrinsic evidence, about specific instances of prior misconduct called "prior bad acts," as long as the questions relate to the witness's own character for truthfulness (or untruthfu
Hostile Witness is a 1968 British courtroom-based drama film based on a play by Jack Roffey, directed by Ray Milland and starring Milland, Sylvia Sims, Raymond Huntley and Julian Holloway. A distinguished barrister finds himself on the wrong side of the law when accused of the murder of the motorist who killed his daughter. Ray Milland as Simon Crawford - Q. C. Sylvia Syms as Sheila Larkin Felix Aylmer as Justice Osborne Raymond Huntley as John Naylor Geoffrey Lumsden as Major Hugh Beresford Maitland Norman Barrs as Charles Milburn Julian Holloway as Percy Percy Marmont as Justice Matthew Gregory Dulcie Bowman as Lady Phyllis Gregory Ewan Roberts as Hamish Gillespie Richard Hurndall as Superintendent Eley Ronald Leigh-Hunt as Dr. Wimborne DVD Talk wrote, "It's not terrible and has its moments, but Billy Wilder's Witness for the Prosecution or your average episode of Rumpole of the Bailey is a lot more fun." Hostile Witness on IMDb
In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of "common law" is. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue; the court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch.
Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems. The common law—so named because it was "common" to all the king's courts across England—originated in the practices of the courts of the English kings in the centuries following the Norman Conquest in 1066; the British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which retain the common law system today. These "common law systems" are legal systems that give great precedential weight to common law, to the style of reasoning inherited from the English legal system. Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Cyprus, Fiji, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zimbabwe.
Some of these countries have variants on common law systems. The term common law has many connotations; the first three set out here are the most-common usages within the legal community. Other connotations from past centuries are sometimes seen and are sometimes heard in everyday speech; the first definition of "common law" given in Black's Law Dictionary, 10th edition, 2014, is "The body of law derived from judicial decisions, rather than from statutes or constitutions. This usage is given as the first definition in modern legal dictionaries, is characterized as the “most common” usage among legal professionals, is the usage seen in decisions of courts. In this connotation, "common law" distinguishes the authority. For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" or “delegated legislation” promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, common law or "case law", i.e. decisions issued by courts.
This first connotation can be further differentiated into pure common law arising from the traditional and inherent authority of courts to define what the law is in the absence of an underlying statute or regulation. Examples include most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, today, most contract law and the law of torts. Interstitial common law court decisions that analyze and determine the fine boundaries and distinctions in law promulgated by other bodies; this body of common law, sometimes called "interstitial common law", includes judicial interpretation of the Constitution, of legislative statutes, of agency regulations, the application of law to specific facts. Publication of decisions, indexing, is essential to the development of common law, thus governments and private publishers publish law reports. While all decisions in common law jurisdictions are precedent, some become "leading cases" or "landmark decisions" that are cited often. Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed. definition 2, differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions.
Common law systems place great weight on court decisions, which are considered "law" with the same force of law as statutes—for nearly a millennium, common law courts have had the authority to make law where no legislative statute exists, statutes mean what courts interpret them to mean. By contrast, in civil law jurisdictions, courts lack authority to act. Civil law judges tend to give less weight to judicial precedent, which means that a
Hague Evidence Convention
The Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters—more referred to as the Hague Evidence Convention—is a multilateral treaty, drafted under the auspices of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The treaty was negotiated in 1967 and 1968 and signed in The Hague on 18 March 1970, it entered into force in 1972. It allows transmission of letters of request from one signatory state to another signatory state without recourse to consular and diplomatic channels. Inside the US, obtaining evidence under the Evidence Convention can be compared to comity; the Hague Evidence Convention was not the first convention to address the transmission of evidence from one state to another. The 1905 Civil Procedure Convention—also signed in The Hague—contained provisions dealing with the transmission of evidence. However, that earlier convention was only ratified by 22 countries; the United States initiated the negotiations that led to the creation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
However, insofar as requests to United States courts are concerned, parties may use the simpler discovery provision codified at 28 U. S. C. § 1782. Between states of the European Union, the Hague Evidence Convention has been supplanted by Council Regulation No. 1206/2001 on Cooperation Between the Courts of the Member States in the Taking of Evidence in Civil or Commercial Matters. As of 2019, there are 62 states. Fifty-six of the HCPIL member states are party to the Hague Evidence Convention. In addition, five states that are not members of the HCPIL have joined the Hague Evidence Convention. Article 39 of the Hague Evidence Convention expressly permits states which were not members of the HCPIL at the time of the conclusion of the treaty to accede to the Convention; the convention establishes a procedure whereby each contracting state designates a "central authority" to receive and review incoming "letters of request" for taking evidence in that country. The central authority reviews the letter of request to determine that it complies with the requirements of the convention.
If the LOR does comply, the central authority "transmits" the letter of request "to the authority competent to execute" it – which means to a court. Under Article 9, the judicial authority that executes a letter of request applies its own law as to the methods and procedures for executing the letter of request. Under article 13, the documents establishing the execution of the letter of request are to be sent by the requested authority to the requesting authority by the same channel, used by the requesting authority, whenever the letter of request is not executed, the requesting authority is to be informed and advised of the reasons; the most controversial provision of the Hague Evidence Convention is the application of pre-trial discovery: obtaining of evidence prior to trial without the prior approval of a judge. While some countries FORMULATION OF PRE-TRIAL DISCOVERY OF DOCUMENTS 4. With reference to Article 23 of the Convention, the United Mexican States declares that according to Mexican law, it shall only be able to comply with letters of request issued for the purpose of obtaining the production and transcription of documents when the following requirements are met: that the judicial proceeding has been commenced.
At least two member states authorize private lawyers to be involved in the evidence-gathering process. Under the law of the British Virgin Islands, if a witness is summoned to testify pursuant to a letter of request, a legal practitioner for any party may administer the oath to the witness; the availability of a private lawyer to be directly involved is more broad under Israeli law. As noted above, Isra
In eyewitness identification, in criminal law, evidence is received from a witness "who has seen an event and can so testify in court". Although it has been observed, by the late U. S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. in his dissent to Watkins v. Sowders, that witness testimony is evidence that "juries seem most receptive to, not inclined to discredit". Justice Brennan observed that "At least since United States v. Wade, 388 U. S. 218, the Court has recognized the inherently suspect qualities of eyewitness identification evidence, described the evidence as "notoriously unreliable". The Innocence Project, a non-profit organization which has worked on using DNA evidence in order to reopen criminal convictions that were made before DNA testing was available as a tool in criminal investigations, states that "Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing." In the United Kingdom, the Criminal Law Review Committee, writing in 1971, stated that cases of mistaken identification "constitute by far the greatest cause of actual or possible wrong convictions".
Eyewitness testimony had what Brennan described as "a powerful impact on juries", who noted in his dissent that "All the evidence points rather strikingly to the conclusion that there is nothing more convincing than a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant, says'That's the one!'" Another commentator observed that the eyewitness identification of a person as a perpetrator was persuasive to jurors when "far outweighed by evidence of innocence." The Innocence Project has facilitated the exoneration of 214 men who were convicted of crimes they did not commit, as a result of faulty eyewitness evidence. A number of these cases have received substantial attention from the media. Jennifer Thompson's case is one example: She was a college student in North Carolina in 1984, when a man broke into her apartment, put a knife to her throat, raped her. According to her own account, Ms. Thompson studied her rapist throughout the incident with great determination to memorize his face.
"I studied every single detail on the rapist's face. I looked at his hairline; when and if I survived the attack, I was going to make sure that he was put in prison and he was going to rot." Ms. Thompson went to the police station that same day to work up a of her attacker, relying on what she believed was her detailed memory. Several days the police constructed a photographic lineup, she selected Ronald Junior Cotton from the lineup, she testified against him at trial. She was positive. "I was sure. I knew it. I had picked the right guy, he was going to go to jail. If there was the possibility of a death sentence, I wanted him to die. I wanted to flip the switch."But she was wrong, as DNA results showed. It turns out she was presented with her actual attacker during a second trial proceeding a year after the attack, but swore she'd never seen the man before in her life, she remained convinced that Ronald Cotton was her attacker, it was not until much after Mr. Cotton had served 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, that she realized that she had made a grave mistake.
Jennifer Thompson's memory had failed resulting in a substantial injustice. It took definitive DNA testing to shake her confidence, but she now knows that despite her confidence in her identification, it was wrong. Cases like Ms. Thompson's prompted the emergence of a field within the social sciences dedicated to the study of eyewitness memory and the causes underlying its recurring failures. One of the primary reasons that eyewitnesses to crimes have been shown to make mistakes in their recollection of perpetrator identities, is the police procedures used to collect eyewitness evidence. Various factors have been discovered to make police identification procedures more or less reliable as a test of eyewitness memory, these procedural mechanisms have been termed "system variables" by social scientists researching this systemic problem. "System variables are those that affect the accuracy of eyewitness identifications and over which the criminal justice system has control."Acknowledging the importance of these procedural precautions recommended by Dr. Gary L. Wells and other leading eyewitness researchers, the Department of Justice published a set of best practices for conducting police lineups in 1999.
One of the most obvious causes of inaccurate identifications resulting from police lineups is the use of a lineup that does not include the actual perpetrator of the crime. In other words, police suspect one person of having committed a crime, when in fact it was committed by an unknown other person who does not appear in the lineup; when the actual perpetrator is not included in the lineup, research has shown that the police suspect faces a heightened risk of being incorrectly identified as the culprit. According to eyewitness researchers, the most cause of this increased occurrence of misidentification is what is termed the "relative judgment" process; that is, when viewing a group of photos or individuals, a witness tends to select the person who looks "most like" the perpetrator. When the actual perpetrator is not present in the lineup, the police suspect is the person who best fits the description, hence his or her selection for the lineup. Given the common, good faith occurrence of police lineups that do not include the actual perpetrator of a crime, it becomes critical that other
DNA profiling is the process of determining an individual's DNA characteristics, which are as unique as fingerprints. DNA analysis intended to identify. DNA profiling is a forensic technique in criminal investigations, comparing criminal suspects' profiles to DNA evidence so as to assess the likelihood of their involvement in the crime, it is used in parentage testing, to establish immigration eligibility, in genealogical and medical research. DNA profiling has been used in the study of animal and plant populations in the fields of zoology and agriculture. Starting in the 1980s scientific advances allowed for the use of DNA as a mechanism for the identification of an individual; the first patent covering the modern process of DNA profiling was filed by Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg in 1983, based upon work he had done while at Rockefeller University in 1981. Glassberg, along with two medical doctors, founded Lifecodes Corporation to bring this invention to market; the Glassberg patent was issued in Belgium BE899027A1, Canada FR2541774A1, Germany DE3407196 A1, Great Britain GB8405107D0, Japan JPS59199000A, United States as US5593832A.
In the United Kingdom, Geneticist Sir Alec Jeffreys independently developed a DNA profiling process in beginning in late 1984 while working in the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester. The process, developed by Jeffreys in conjunction with Peter Gill and Dave Werrett of the Forensic Science Service, was first used forensically in the solving of the murder of two teenagers, raped and murdered in Narborough, Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986. In the murder inquiry, led by Detective David Baker, the DNA contained within blood samples obtained voluntarily from around 5,000 local men who willingly assisted Leicestershire Constabulary with the investigation, resulted in the exoneration of Richard Buckland, an initial suspect who had confessed to one of the crimes, the subsequent conviction of Colin Pitchfork on January 2, 1988. Pitchfork, a local bakery employee, had coerced his coworker Ian Kelly to stand in for him when providing a blood sample—Kelly used a forged passport to impersonate Pitchfork.
Another coworker reported the deception to the police. Pitchfork was arrested, his blood was sent to Jeffrey's lab for processing and profile development. Pitchfork's profile matched that of DNA left by the murderer which confirmed Pitchfork's presence at both crime scenes. Although 99.9% of human DNA sequences are the same in every person, enough of the DNA is different that it is possible to distinguish one individual from another, unless they are monozygotic twins. DNA profiling uses repetitive sequences that are variable, called variable number tandem repeats, in particular short tandem repeats known as microsatellites, minisatellites. VNTR loci are similar between related individuals, but are so variable that unrelated individuals are unlikely to have the same VNTRs; the process, developed by Glassberg and independently by Jeffreys, begins with a sample of an individual's DNA. Reference samples are collected through a buccal swab; when this is unavailable other methods may be needed to collect a sample of blood, semen, vaginal lubrication, or other fluid or tissue from personal use items or from stored samples.
Samples obtained from blood relatives can indicate an individual's profile, as could previous profiled human remains. A reference sample is analyzed to create the individual's DNA profile using one of the techniques discussed below; the DNA profile is compared against another sample to determine whether there is a genetic match. When a sample such as blood or saliva is obtained, the DNA is only a small part of what is present in the sample. Before the DNA can be analyzed, it must be purified. There are many ways this can be accomplished; the cell and nuclear membranes need to be broken up to allow the DNA to be free in solution. Once the DNA is free, it can be separated from all other cellular components. After the DNA has been separated in solution, the remaining cellular debris can be removed from the solution and discarded, leaving only DNA; the most common methods of DNA extraction include organic extraction, Chelex extraction, solid phase extraction. Differential extraction is a modified version of extraction in which DNA from two different types of cells can be separated from each other before being purified from the solution.
Each method of extraction works well in the laboratory, but analysts selects their preferred method based on factors such as the cost, the time involved, the quantity of DNA yielded, the quality of DNA yielded. After the DNA is extracted from the sample, it can be analyzed, whether it be RFLP analysis or quantification and PCR analysis; the first methods for finding out genetics used for DNA profiling involved RFLP analysis. DNA is cut into small pieces using a restriction enzyme; this generates DNA fragments of differing sizes as a consequence of variations between DNA sequences of different individuals. The fragments are separated on the basis of size using gel electrophoresis; the separated fragments are transferred to a nitrocellulose or nylon filter. The DNA fragments within the blot are permanently fixed to the filter, the DNA strands