Los Angeles, CA criminal defense attorney Karen L. Goldstein talks about how you create reasonable doubt in a domestic violence case.
Karen is the recipient of Trial Attorney of the Year 2020, The Jerry Giesler Memorial Award, by the Criminal Courts Bar Association (CCBA).
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There’s no one way to create reasonable doubt in a domestic violence case, but I think there is one obvious approach, and that is credibility. A very simple answer would be, in any way that you can, you need to build up your client’s credibility and take down the accuser’s credibility, because as everybody’s heard, the he-said, she-said, that is a lot of times what a domestic violence case is. So the real question is well how do you do that? How do you build up your client’s credibility? How do you tear down the accuser’s? And usually that’s a matter of very good investigation. You go to the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend to try to get dirt on the accuser. You get the custody or divorce records. You get the mental health records to show that this person has a history of lying or of maybe some kind of emotional or mental condition. But at the end of the day, it is a credibility contest for the jury, and the more that you can explain to the jury why your client is likely telling the truth, that’s how you create reasonable doubt.