At a suppression hearing can I admit a witness statement for one purpose, but not another purpose?

Asked over 2 years ago - Okeechobee, FL

A cop states that I never asked him why I was stopped, but he took witness statements. The witness statements both state that I asked the officer why I was stopped. Can I use those at a suppression hearing to prove that he is lying and for that purpose only? Or does using the witness statements open the door to use witness statements at trial?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Craig A. Epifanio

    Contributor Level 18

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your question is not a simple one. It could certainly open the door to other questions. However, a motion hearing is different than a trial and issues such as hearsay are more relaxed at a suppression hearing than at a trial. You definitely need to talk to an attorney about the pros and cons of using the witness statements. There may be other ways to get evidence in without compromising your case, but again that is something you should discuss with an attorney in person.

  2. Ronald Lee Burdge

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . When charged with a criminal act, the worst thing you can do is try to handle it yourself without an attorney. At least in a civil case, you only lose money when you lose your case. In a criminal case, if you lose you could end up in jail or prison. If you already have an attorney, that's who you should be talking to. No attorney on the internet will know or understand your case, or its history, better than the lawyer you already have. You should first ask your questions of the attorney you already have representing you. He or she very likely knows exactly what the answer is to your question since they know the other attorney involved and the court and the judge on your case. Anyone else would only be second guessing and that would not be fair to you. And the guess, educated or not, of another attorney who doesn't know everything about your case, could also be wrong. And no attorney wants to give you the wrong advice. Of course, if you are not satisfied with the answers you get from your current attorney, then you always have the right to get a second opinion from another attorney. If you want to find another attorney who handles criminal law cases you can look for one here on Avvo under the Find a Lawyer tab. If you don't have an attorney then you should ask to have one appointed to represent you. If this answer was helpful, please give it a Vote Up review below. Thanks for asking and good luck.

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  3. Omer Jaleel

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A trial and a suppression hearing whether it be a motion to suppress evidence or statements are two separate matters. To give you a really short answer. Asking the officer about the statement will open the door for the prosecution to ask about the statements. It seems though you are trying to offer the statement as impeachment evidence which is different than introducing a statement as substantive evidence. In the long run, the evidence will likely come in when the prosecution calls the officer in their case in chief.

  4. Richard Earl Hornsby

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Since hearsay is admissible in a suppression hearing, you could confront him with the statements; although calling the witnesses to testify would be a better practice.

    However, the statements would not be admissible as substantive evidence at a trial; as hearsay generally is inadmissible then.

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