Evidence in New Haven Domestic Violence Cases
Every domestic violence case is different and therefore features different evidence based on the specific facts and circumstances of the allegations. However, in most domestic violence cases in New Haven the police will obtain a statement from the complainant, whether it be an oral statement or a written statement that is sworn and signed under oath, commonly called a Whalen Statement or a VAR. These types of statements are often a major pieces of evidence because they can be introduced at trial under certain circumstances and used as substance evidence.
In addition, the police will take photographs and collect other evidence to support the complainant’s. In many cases photos are an important piece of evidence because they are difficult to challenge at a trial and can be very effective to support a complainant’s testimony. Similarly, the police or the state’s attorney will often subpoena the complainant’s medical records to prove a particular injury.
Evidence Used By The Defense
The evidence that a New Haven defense attorney will put together for the defense is also going to depend on each individual case and the particular defense in that case. Typically a New Haven criminal lawyer will have a three-step approach to building a defense:
- First, an attorney will examine whether there are any legal issues with the evidence such that could get it suppressed at a trial.
- Second, they will consider factual issues with the state’s ability to prove the allegations.
- And finally, an attorney will take what’s called a social defense where they try portray the client is the most favorable way to the prosecutor and judge.
Next an attorney will begin building a defense using the facts and circumstances of the specific case.
Examples of Potential Defenses
If the defense attorney’s claim is that our client did not do it and therefore it is a false allegation, our attorneys would look to establish holes in the complainant’s version of events. To do this, our firm very often recommends that our client’s hire an investigator to work on the case with us.
In some cases, a criminal attorney may have an alibi defense. For example, if the complainant is claiming an incident occurred around nine o’clock at night and our client was either with someone else or not at that location, the attorney would want to establish those facts and the client’s version of events. This can be done by getting credit card receipts, talking to witnesses, and getting statements.
On the other hand if the defendant admits to committing the offense, the defense attorney will simply be looking to minimize the consequences and get the best possible outcome potentially a social defense. In doing so, the details would depend on each individual client and case. However, this allows a lawyer to put forward the strongest argument to minimize the consequences and reach a resolution that is beneficial for the defendant.
In most cases when evidence needs to be challenged it is done at a suppression hearing, which typically won’t occur until a trial. However, in unique situations, where the legal issue may be dispositive of the case, it is possible to schedule a pretrial suppression hearing but it is in the pre-trial judge’s discretion. Whether at trial or a pretrial hearing, the purpose of this challenge is to prevent certain pieces of evidence from being introduced by the prosecutor.
Ways Evidence Can Be Challenged
There are a number of legal ways that evidence can be challenged in a New Haven domestic violence case. The most common is if the situation involving an illegal search, and that challenge is done through a motion to suppress. If the police have illegally searched someone’s home and obtained something that the state is trying to introduce as evidence, the attorney would file a motion to suppress and challenge that search to try to have that piece of evidence excluded from trial. Similarly, if an individual is not read their Miranda rights and then gives an incriminating statement a defense lawyer would try to suppress that statement as well.
An experienced domestic violence lawyer will use the defendant’s constitutional rights to ensure that the state does not introduce evidence that is unlawfully obtained or is otherwise inadmissible in court.
Witness Testimony As Evidence
Depending on each individual circumstance, there are ways to challenge a particular witness’s testimony. A developing area of the criminal defense field is eyewitness identification. In recent years, there has been significant research that establishes that eyewitness identifications are not necessarily reliable, and often lead to convictions of innocent individuals.
As a result, in cases where the police do not follow certain procedures and technical procedures, there may be ways to challenge a witness’s testimony and try to keep that out of court.
It will depend on each individual case and the circumstances associated with each case. However, our attorneys certainly will try to challenge any witnesses, particularly eyewitness statements, to ensure that the police filed the appropriate procedure, if in fact it is something the state seeks to introduce.