Witness credibility is one of the many crucial elements at trial. If you view and listen to impeachment testimony in the House of Representatives consider the credibility of the witnesses. In broad terms, the credibility of a witness pertains to his or her believability as a person and possible bias, personal knowledge and ability to perceive the event about which he or she is testifying, and actual testimony provided. Credibility is also established by the questions that are allowed to be asked and that are asked of the witness on direct examination, and is attacked by questions that are allowed to be asked and that are asked on cross examination of the witness. Also consider the nature of the questions that are being asked – for example, are they leading (suggestive of the answer that is desired), are they more questioner speech than question to the witness, are they really the most important questions that you would like to know or are they missing important issues and questions, etc.?
To be sure the processes and procedures that are being allowed and that are being followed in the House impeachment action are not the same as processes and procedures that would be allowed and followed in a court trial, and typical court procedural and evidentiary rules are not being allowed or followed in the impeachment action. However, below, for example, I have pasted California Evidence Code Section 780 which pertains to and discusses some, but not all, aspects of witness credibility in a California trial. Enjoy.
California Evidence Code Section 780
Except as otherwise provided by statute, the court or jury may consider in determining the credibility of a witness any matter that has any tendency in reason to prove or disprove the truthfulness of his testimony at the hearing, including but not limited to any of the following:
(a) His demeanor while testifying and the manner in which he testifies.
(b) The character of his testimony.
(c) The extent of his capacity to perceive, to recollect, or to communicate any matter about which he testifies.
(d) The extent of his opportunity to perceive any matter about which he testifies.
(e) His character for honesty or veracity or their opposites.
(f) The existence or nonexistence of a bias, interest, or other motive.
(g) A statement previously made by him that is consistent with his testimony at the hearing.
(h) A statement made by him that is inconsistent with any part of his testimony at the hearing.
(i) The existence or nonexistence of any fact testified to by him.
(j) His attitude toward the action in which he testifies or toward the giving of testimony.
(k) His admission of untruthfulness.
Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.
Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only.
I am also the Chair of the Business Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco.
Blogs: Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com; Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management http://auditcommitteeupdate.com
My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:
Probate Court Disputes and Litigation
- Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.
Business and Business-Related Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; and Nonprofit Entities
- Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
- Misappropriation of trade secrets
- M&A disputes
- Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes
- Buy-sell disputes
- Funding and share dilution disputes
- Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages
- Access to corporate and business records disputes
- Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.
Investigations and Governance
- Corporate and business internal investigations
- Board, audit committee and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.
The following are copies of the tables of contents of three of the more formal materials that I have written over the years about accounting/auditing, audit committees, and related legal topics – Accounting and Its Legal Implications was my first formal effort, which resulted in a published book that had more of an accounting and auditing focus; Chapter 5A, Audit Committee Functions and Responsibilities, for the California Continuing Education of the Bar has a more legal focus; and the most recent Tate’s Excellent Audit Committee Guide (February 2017) also has a more legal focus:
The following are other summary materials that you might find useful:
From a prior blog post which you can find at https://wp.me/p75iWX-dk if the below scan is too difficult to read:
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