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This morning’s jury trial began at 9:30 with the prosecutor’s opening statement. She gave hers, I gave mine, and she called her first witness. This was a domestic battery accusation, and witness number one was the accuser.

I was loaded for bear. I had photographs that contradicted her claim. I had certified copies of her felony convictions, and her convictions for crimes of dishonesty or false statement. I had two police reports documenting her use of an alias. I had copies of court documents in which she had claimed to have been in a mental hospital for treatment of ADHD. I had documents showing that they were involved in a custody lawsuit, which my client had filed. I had proof that my client had obtained a restraining order against her the day before the accusation was made.

I began my cross-examination by focusing her attention: “Let’s start by talking about the things we agree on,” I said.

“OK,” said she.

“We can agree that you are a convicted felon,” I began, with a shot across her bow.

Pointing at my client, she replied, “So is he!”

It is fair game to impeach a witness with his or her felony convictions. The rules of evidence say so. If an accused person takes the stand and testifies, the same rules apply to him. But unless an accused person becomes a witness in a criminal trial, his prior record does not become part of the case.

Mistrial. Done.

I was out of the courthouse before 10:00.

Written by:
Florida defense attorney mike kessler attorney

Attorney Kessler has been practicing criminal law in Florida for 30 years. He is recognized as is a leading authority on drunk-driving defense as well as a founding member of the Saint Lucie County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and co-author of The DUI Book: Florida Edition, the definitive resource on DUI in Florida.

To speak with Mike, call 772-466-4900 or click here for a free consultation.

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Disclaimer: At the Kessler Law Firm, we treat every client and case individually. We do not run a factory or cookie-cutter business. While we cannot guarantee how your case will end, we do guarantee the quality of our work and our dedication to helping you achieve the best possible outcome. Of course, the information provided on this website is not legal advice about your case; any exchange of info via this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Cities we service in FL: Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Vero Beach, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach

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