Should the defense interview the alleged sexual assault victim before trial?
Military Sexual Assault Court Martial Tips
Court-martial attorney, Michael Waddington, discusses why the military defense lawyer should consider not interviewing the alleged victim in a military sexual assault court martial case.
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Below is a transcript of the YouTube video, Should the Military Defense Attorney Interview Sexual Assault Court Martial Victims?
If you go to an Article 32 Investigation and interview the alleged victim or any hostile witness, before the Article 32, you sit down with them. They get comfortable with you. They’re like, hey. This guy is not a bad guy. He’s, he’s asking me questions. He’s a human being. He’s not the big, bad, scary military defense lawyer that I’ve been promised. Then you go to an Article 32, and you cross-examine them. And then after that, the day or two before trial, you sit down with him, you interview them again, that’s a third time. And this is what happens in most cases.
Many Hostile Witnesses will Try to Manipulate You
That’s the third time that the alleged victim or the hostile witness has not sat down with the defense attorney. They’re no longer afraid of you. They know what you’re going to ask. They know where you’re going. They now have confidence. Confidence is your worst enemy. When a witness has a lot of confidence, especially a powerful witness, like the alleged victim, when they have a lot of confidence on that witness stand, that can be devastating to your case. You’re better off having a witness, a government witness that’s afraid of you, that doesn’t know where you’re going, that’s intimidated by you. And that comes out hostile towards you, rather than comfortable and confident.
Like many of these witnesses are testifying to net testifying like now because they’ve been talking to the defense lawyer for months. So when it comes time for court-martial, they’re not afraid of you. They sit down with their special victim counsel in the prosecution. And they go over again what your testimony is going to be. So by the time they get in front of the jury, the jury is going to be thinking, wow, this person’s polished, they’re not nervous.
You Want Opposing Witnesses to be Anxious
They’re playing the defense lawyer. They have answers for everything. That’s a credible witness. If you wouldn’t have interviewed them in advance, which is one of the things that I’m recommending a lot of cases if you didn’t sit down with him with article 32 and go over your testimony.
If you didn’t interview them again, they’re going to have much more anxiety before trial. The jury anxiety can see anxiety is seen as a sign of deception. When someone’s moving around or looking nervous, and they don’t know. I don’t know what to say. The alleged victims don’t look you in the eye. Those are deception indicators. And those are deception indicators that go away when a witness is too familiar with the defense counsel
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