Refuting and Dismissing Evidence in a DC Domestic Violence Case

When a domestic violence lawyer reviews a prosecutor’s evidence in a domestic violence case, there are several things to take into account. Prosecutors and police officers have constitutional obligations. The defense lawyer reviews each of those obligations to identify any violations and ensure that prosecutors use only constitutionally admissible evidence in a trial against their client.

When trying to build the best defense, it is beneficial to have a strong defense attorney available to help investigate gathered evidence and testimony and determine if refuting or dismissing that evidence in your DC domestic violence case would be the most necessary move going forward.

Dismissing Evidence

One of the important considerations about gathered evidence is whether any of the prosecutor’s evidence was obtained unconstitutionally. For example, if a police officer wants to interrogate someone after they are arrested, the police officer must inform the person of their Miranda rights. The officer must inform the person that they are not required to answer any questions and can invoke their right to decline to answer questions. The person has the right to have a lawyer present during questioning. The police officer has a constitutional obligation to inform someone they just arrested of their Miranda rights when the officer and prosecutors want to use statements in court that are made by the person in response to the officer’s interrogating questions.

If the police or the law enforcement officer does not comply with those constitutional obligations, the person’s statements can be deemed inadmissible in trial because they were obtained in violation of the person’s constitutional rights. The defense lawyer must review the arrest proceedings to protect their client’s constitutional rights. Violations of a person’s constitutional rights can result in evidence being dismissed or suppressed in a DC domestic violence case. The statements and evidence cannot be used in the person’s trial.

Throwing Out Witness Testimony

The prosecutor must follow certain obligations when calling witnesses. Prosecutors are required to turn over certain types of evidence to defense lawyers including evidence that calls into question the reliability of a prosecutor’s witnesses and any other information that could be favorable to the defense. These are the prosecutor’s Brady obligations.

Brady obligations speak to the fundamental question of fairness. When a prosecutor is in possession of evidence that is favorable to the defendant, the prosecutor has a constitutional obligation to turn that evidence over to the defense lawyer.

A prosecutor also has obligations to turn over certain statements made by witnesses. When a prosecutor fails to meet those obligations, that can result in sanctions against the prosecutor. The judge could throw out evidence or testimony if they believe the prosecutor violated their procedural and constitutional obligations. The judge can dismiss parts of witness testimony or some witnesses. It all depends on the violation committed and what the judge determines to be a fair sanction to ensure that a person has an impartial opportunity at a trial. The prosecutor must meet their burden of proving a person guilty.

Refuting Witness Testimony

Witness testimonies as evidence in DC domestic violence cases can be challenged in several different ways. Inconsistencies are very important. If an accuser says one thing to the police, and then says something different, adds or retracts information, or changes information when they testify in court, the inconsistencies between earlier statements and later statements can show that an accuser is unreliable or lying. Another important way to challenge witness testimony is evidence that they have the motivation to lie, such as financial interest or trying to gain an advantage in a divorce or trial custody hearing. It can be very useful to show that the witness has the motivation to fabricate evidence.

Statements as Evidence

If there are text messages or emails that were sent that contain incriminating evidence, then the defense attorney has an obligation to see if those statements are actually admissible. Any statements made by the defendant are almost always admissible in court.

However, if the statement was made to a police officer or to a government investigator while the defendant was in custody, it could be a violation of the person’s Miranda Rights. This is if the statements were made without them being advised of their right to remain silent or their right to have a lawyer present during questioning. If the government tries to admit any statements from the defendant as evidence, the defense lawyer would have to check whether there was a violation of their client’s rights. If there was a violation, then the statement might be thrown out of evidence. The defense attorney is essential in protecting their client’s rights when considering refuting and dismissing evidence in their DC domestic violence case.