Attorneys in criminal trials need to decide if they are putting their client on the stand to testify early in the process. While they do not necessarily need to make any formal announcements, they do want to make the decision early so they can have time to prepare their client to testify. But is putting the client on the stand a good idea?
Impeaching The Testimony
The primary goal of the opposing attorney will be to impeach the testimony of the client to make sure the testimony is never used. To do this, the opposing attorney will find legitimate ways to shine a light of doubt on the legitimacy of the client’s testimony. For example, if the client has a criminal record with felony convictions in it, then that could be used to discredit the testimony.
The client’s attorney is going to have to do a thorough investigation of the client’s past to make sure that it is a good idea to allow the client to testify. Putting a client on the stand that could be compromised by their past does not help the attorney’s case at all.
The court attempts to be as impartial as possible whether it be a judge or a jury. But if your client has a reputation for lying, then that could destroy your entire case. The credibility of a witness is something that is determined by the attorney. If the Staten Island lawyer does not think that their client has the kind of credibility needed to strengthen the case, then that lawyer might decide to not put their client on the stand.
Does It Help The Case?
The ability of the client to help the case by taking the stand is also a decision their attorney must make. If the attorney is completely convinced that their client is innocent and the client is an eloquent speaker who could help the case, then the attorney would normally choose to put their client on the stand.
Giving a court testimony is not easy. Even the most innocent of clients can trip up on the stand when they are nervous or intimidated. If the attorney has the sense that their client would do more harm than good on the stand, despite their innocence, then the attorney would let the case speak for itself and not put their client on the stand.
Prepping For Trial
Another important element that goes into the decision on whether or not to put a client on the stand is the costs involved. Every person who testifies is prepared for the stand by the attorney and his team. This costs money, and it also costs the Staten Island lawyer precious time in preparing their case. If the attorney decides that the effort is not worth it, then that could be the reason used to not put a client on the stand.
The decision on whether or not to put a client on the stand in their own trial is a very important one. There are many different factors that go into the attorney’s thought process and many reasons why the attorney may or may not decide to have their client take the stand.