Preparing Alibi Witnesses for Trial

Alibi witness testifying
Alibi witness testifying

Preparing alibi witnesses for trial is something a defense attorney must critically consider. There are inherent issues with using alibi witnesses and some of those are addressed in my most recent prior blog article but if the attorney has made a decision after fully explaining the benefits and pitfalls of using an alibi witness to the client then there are things he needs to do to prepare those witnesses for testimony and cross-examination.

Preparing alibi witnesses for trial is a very important issue. Take a look at my previous article relating to use of an alibi witness.

Alibi witnesses should be prepared to expect questions about the following:

  • The witness’ relationship with the defendant
  • The timing of the witness coming forward
  • When did the witness realize the defendant had been arrested?
  • What does the witness know about the crime?
  • Is the witness aware of other incriminating information, such as a confession, other eyewitnesses, or forensic evidence?
  • When did the witness realize they could provide an alibi?
  • Who did the witness first approach about knowledge of the event?
  • If the witness did not go directly to the police or prosecutors, why not?
  • How is the witness sure about the alibi?
  • Could the witness have confused about the any or time of day?
  • Does the witness have any supporting physical evidence?
  • If there is supporting evidence not under the witness’s control, did they tell anyone about it?

There will be issues that need to be addresses that might be asked by jurors, including the witness’s motives, memory, and relationship with the accused.

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