Witness Investigation

Witness Investigation

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After review of the Animal Control file, you should have the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone involved in the investigation. Now it's time for witness interviews.  Who do you interview, and how?

First, you must realize that just talking to someone is not going to help in court.  Too many times I have seen the attorney talk to the witness over the phone, and at trial the story changes.  How can you impeach them? You can't legally say, "That's not what you told me."  You are now a witness in the case, and the only way to impeach would be for you to testify. So if there is a crucial witness that is not friendly to you, you are going to have to get a sworn statement or a recorded statement.

And what if they refuse to talk to you? Do you have the right to discovery? The right to subpoena? According to Mansour v. King, 128 P.3d 1241 (Wash. App. 2006), you do. If I felt the witness was crucial, say an expert or the sole eyewitness, I would apply to the lower tribunal for the right to subpoena and discovery, and if the request was denied, I would raise it on appeal based on Mansour v. King.

 

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