WHAT IS A DEPOSITION?
There is an old saying in the legal profession:
“Never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to.”
The way that a lawyer will already know the answer is by participating in the discovery process. In some cases, witnesses or alleged victims give statements to the police. These statements are very one sided and generally are bad for the accused. In many more cases, there are no statements at all.
I am a firm believer in the taking of depositions not just from an alleged victim but from witnesses, civilian or law enforcement.
Pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 (h)(1) depositions of all A listed witnesses are allowed in all Felony cases and are allowed upon court order in Misdemeanor cases.
A deposition is a key tool in the defense of an accused. Depositions allow the defense attorney to fully question the alleged victim or witness about the case. A skilled defense attorney will have a plan of attack prior to the deposition. This is the defense attorney’s opportunity to poke holes in the story of witness or alleged victim, get them to contradict their prior statement or potentially say things that will exonerate the accused. In many cases, a deposition is used to lock a person into a story regarding what happened.
The reason that a deposition is such an essential took for a defense attorney is that it allows the defense attorney to know what the witness will testify to prior to be called to the stand. In many cases, this will allow the defense attorney to file Pre-Trial Motions to Suppress or Motions to Dismiss based up the specific testimony given at the deposition.
If and when the witness testifies, if they contradict their deposition or any other sworn statement in any way, a skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to impeach the witness. The defense attorney will be able to show to the judge and/or jury that the witness is not credible because their testimony is changing.
For more information on depositions or for a free consultation, please contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Sobel at 954-383-3000