Is it better to split up co-defendants in a trail for armed robbery if one co-defendant is testifying to get the better deal?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Macon, GA

One co-defendant admitted to being involved and is willing to testify against the 3 other co-defendants. One declines being there and the other two said they were there. This robbery has been labled as a prank robbery since one of the employers set this up. Will it be better to try them all seprate or the 3 against one. How would it look if the 3 co-denfendants stories are all the same and the one who is testifying is different and similar to the victim?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Allen Rust Knox

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You don't just get to choose whether you are tried together or separately. You must show that you can't get a fair trial together. Normally this is done by showing that one co-defendant would testify and give exculpatory evidence for another co-defendant if the case was severred. In your case, the co-defendant is testifying against you, so you do not have a claim for severance. Even when a co-defendant may have exculpatory testimony for another co-defendant, they seldom will agree to testify because the State will not give them use-immunity and they will be subject to cross-examination about information that may incriminate them. Therefore, seperate trials are rarely granted in these situations.

    Another way to get a separate trial is one another defendant's statement incriminates you. However, most times this is remedied by the State redacting those portions of the co-defendant's statement that incriminate you, and a joint trial is had.

    The final situation in which a separate trial is granted is when there is evidence which is applicable only to one defendant but, due to the confusing nature of the evidence, jurors may mistake it for evidence against another defendant. Again, because there are so many ways to keep this from harming the other defendants (including limiting instructions), separate trials are rarely granted.

    IF you do not have an attorney already, you need one. This is the kind of question you really need to go over with your attorney.

  2. Adam Charles Stone

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your question calls for a huge trial tactical decision based upon all the facts and circumstances of the case. This is not a question for this forum. Go speak with your attorney. If you don't have one, go out and get one NOW. There are so many considerations to be take into account - testimony of the co-Defendant, make-up of jury, nature of facts inherent within the charges, other witnesses involved, the physical and circumstantial evidence involved.

    Severance of counts and testimony of co-Defendants is all too much for this forum, in my opinion. Go speak to your attorney immediately.

    Good luck! I wish you the best.

    Adam C. Stone
    Adam C. Stone, Attorney and
    Counselor at Law, Ltd.
    840 So. Sandusky Avenue,
    Bucyrus, Ohio 44820
    Telephone: 419-562-2110
    Facsimile: 419-562 1660

    Nothing contained in this message is to be construed as legal advice. Rather, the general information provided... more
  3. Douglas Holbrook

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The answer to your question may be difference depending upon which of the co-defendant's perspective it is viewed from.

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