Based on the “issue” being related to Alyce and the defense looking miserable and Juan appearing thrilled, it would not surprise me if an
impeachment action perjury charge against Alice Laviolette is made Monday. Updated: (I’ve been enlightened a bit on legal process by some smart sounding commenters who tell me that a perjury charge could have all of Alyce’s testimony stricken entirely and that the “impeachment” occurred in cross for the reasons I state below and that there won’t be a “hearing” on impeachment.)
Updated: The prevailing opinion among some is that the motion for mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct (mugging for photos) is still open. It sounds like that is the reason we have not had a motion for mistrial from the defense for the past couple of days. Wong apparently has something to add related to the Jinkasaurus testimony. ( I believe Wong produced the segment on Juan’s popularity.) Didn’t Jinkasaurus answer a question with “I wouldn’t know about that, that is not part of my job…” or something similar? I’m not totally buying into this because Juan seemed so happy about everything in court today. Perhaps he knows that the motion is going to be denied and he was reacting to whatever the Alyce situation turns out to be. It’s 2am and this is hour 15 or so of blogging on this so apologies if I am making less sense than usual.
But let’s look at the possible charges of impeachment as explained by CrossExam.com
Impeachment of an expert witness is the process of calling into question the credibility of the expert during cross-examination. According to the United State Federal Rules of Evidence, any party may attack the credibility of any witness (including an expert witness) during a trial.
Adequate preparation before the trial begins is essential for the successful impeachment of an expert witness. Such preparation involves becoming familiar with the expert’s credentials as well as the subject matter of the cross-examination.
Lack of qualification is an initial challenge to any expert. Does this expert possess such specialized knowledge of the subject of his or her testimony that the court should declare this witness to be an “expert”? This is where it pays to spend significant time scrutinizing the expert’s credentials.
Juan hinted at this today when bringing up her lack of a doctorate and questioning her educational background. I would say that someone who thinks that stabbing someone to death and shooting them in the face is not greater domestic violence than calling someone a three-hole wonder is evidence enough of lack of qualifications.
Bias is one of the most common strategies for impeaching a witness at trial. This involves demonstrating that the witness is motivated in his testimony by personal gain – actual payment for testifying in that particular case or the hope that testimony in this case will lead to more business as an expert witness. Repeatedly testifying for the same side during trial is also sometimes grounds for impeachment because of bias.
It was interesting today that Alyce spoke up, unprompted about her retirement fund, and despite it being poorly funded….and Juan cut her off. Why was Alyce bringing up her financial status? It seemed like she was trying to defend taking on the case for financial gain.
Inconsistency is another reason for impeachment, and is generally the easiest to prove. If the expert witness has previously made two or more conflicting statements, or if prior testimony is in conflict with the testimony being offered during the current proceedings, a strong case for impeachment due to inconsistency can be made. Previous statements, such as those on affidavits, sworn statements, or previous depositions, should always be thoroughly reviewed prior to the beginning of testimony by an expert witness. Contradictions or inconsistencies made during the current testimony can also be used as grounds for impeachment.
Juan brought up inconsistency today as well. He made sure to get the change in her story about where Jodi was when she shot Travis into the record one more time today. On several other occasions he specifically said, “isn’t that inconsistent with your previous testimony?” Alyce has recently stated she had ‘mispoken’ enough times that we actually jokingly use the word ‘mispoken’ in the same way Alyce did. “I misspoken.”
Character of the expert witness can be called into question during cross-examination in order to prove justification for impeachment. If the witness has a reputation for dishonesty, or has committed a crime involving dishonesty, such as fraud, embezzlement, or perjury, a case for poor character can be made. This can go a long way toward convincing the court and jury that the testimony of the expert witness is not credible. Specific examples of prior dishonest acts or crimes are not admissible unless the witness admits to them while on the stand.
It certainly seemed as though Alyce perjured herself today with regard to the question about testifying in criminal court on behalf of male domestic violence victims. I picked up on her lying and obvious incongruent body language right away. Juan was quick to jump on that. In fact it was his first question when he got his turn with Alyce today. Alyce essentially said she ‘misspoken’ again.
I think I have a pretty credible case for impeachment. Since all the above happened today, particularly the possible perjury perhaps Juan is going after Alyce on that charge. Do you have a better theory? (Edited to take into account better ways to say this based on comments. The bottom line remains that Alyce’s testimony could be entirely stricken. Maybe. Or not. Is that better, legal eagles? 🙂 )