In a prior post, I explained that exculpatory evidence is evidence that tends to show a defendant is not guilty. The risks of speaking with the pollce are many. Here, I will discuss the impact of a false exculpatory statement on a Boston criminal defense case.
What is a false exculpatory statement?
A person confronted by the police might make a statement that, on its face, exculpates him, but that is, in fact, largely untrue. A false exculpatory statement (also called an “inculpatory” statement) is admissible at trial as evidence of the defendant’s consciousness of guilt. The court may instruct the jury that it may infer the defendant is guilty based on this false statement.
What is the impact of a false exculpatory statement on a jury?
In many ways, false exculpatory statements are stronger indicators of guilt than a confession. Skillful cross-examination of the detective who obtained a confession may undermine the detective’s credibility to such an extent that the jury may believe the confession was coerced or fabricated. However, jurors are likely to believe an officer’s testimony about a defendant’s untrue exculpatory statement. After all, if the officer was so intent on establishing the defendant’s guilt that he made up a false exculpatory statement, why would he stop there? Why not make up a full-blown confession?
How can a Boston criminal defense lawyer combat a false exculpatory statement?
A savvy Boston criminal defense lawyer will try to rebut a false exculpatory statement by showing that:
- The defendant was puzzled or mistaken.
- The defendant had some reason to lie, other than hiding his guilt. For example, he may have lied about where he got a weapon because he was trying to protect a family member, or he may have given a false alibi because he did not want to reveal that he was having an affair.
Contact Boston criminal defense lawyer, Kevin J. Mahoney
Your Boston criminal defense lawyer must appreciate the persuasiveness of an untrue exculpatory statement when advising you about whether to go to trial or accept a plea deal. We are always available to speak with you about your case and your legal options. Call us at (617) 492-0055 or use our online contact form to schedule a free in-office consultation.
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