Are All Witnesses Equal in a Criminal Case?
All witnesses are supposed to be equal in a criminal case. Just because someone has a badge doesn’t mean they are more credible than anyone else. Unfortunately most people don’t feel this way.
My name is Eric Benavides and I am a Texas criminal defense lawyer.
In the state of Texas, all witnesses are created equal. What I mean by that is, in a jury trial, all witnesses start on a level playing field. That means that if there’s an officer testifying, or a witness who might have a criminal record testifies or just a normal citizen testifying, all witnesses start on a level playing field.
The jury is instructed that no one witness starts at a higher level of credibility just because of their authority.
So in other words, just because the police officer has a badge, doesn’t mean he starts higher than a witness with a criminal record. Everybody starts on a level playing field and by their testimony, the jurors are the judge of credibility.
That’s the way the laws in Texas regarding the witnesses works – so that no one starts at a higher level than the next witness. It’s an opportunity for everybody to be given a fair chance to be heard.