I have a criminal trial for misdemeanor charges against me in a month and would like to know how to add more statements from a couple people out of state, one being about how the state's victim is violent and how the victim's spouse called my mom's friend instead of calling 911 because she was trying to call the Veteran's Administration. I did a pretrial order at a city court at my arraignment, but some evidence did not come to light till now. Since Arizona doesn't appoint counsel for misdemeanor, because I am not facing jail time, and can not indefinitely afford an attorney, I have to do "pro per" or "pro se." Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The witnesses have to appear in court to testify so the out of state witness would have to come here. Courts are also reluctant to allow "propensity for violence" testimony, so even if that person came to the trial you'll face an uphill fight trying to get their testimony in. As far as the testimony about calling the VA, I don't see how that is relevant and there are potential hearsay issues unless the husband appears and testifies. Regardless of my opinions, if you want to have a particular witness testify at the trial you need to provide the Prosecutor's office with the person's name and contact info. This must be done 20 days prior to the trial.
My colleague's answer is a good one, but keep in mind some of the answers depend on the charge your are facing and what your defense is going to be. For example, if you are charged with assault and are going to claim self-defense the victim's propensity for violence and your knowledge of it may be relevant and admissible, but again such questions are fact dependent.
I agree with both of my colleagues. If you are claiming self-defense, you may be able to show that your state of mind was affected by a victim's propensity towards violence. In some jurisdictions, this "opens the door" to questions from the prosecutor about your propensity towards violence. You can either have the witness come or testify yourself to non-hearsay statements you heard that had an effect on you. If you are going to call the witnesses, you need to notify the prosecutor pursuant to my colleagues directions. The witness's testimony that the state's victim is violent is actually less relevant that your own testimony of the same, since your conduct will not be excused by fear which lay in the mind of the witness, but rather by fear which lay in your own mind.
This information is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon or construed to create an attorney-client relationship. It is for informational purposes only.