Can someone be a witness in a trial in a case that was already happening previous to knowing the accused?

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Can someone be a witness in a trial in a case that was already happening previous to knowing the accused?

The accused was dating someone for @ 3 years with no arrest or altercations between either parties. The end of the relationship brought an arrest of the accused by the girlfriend for rape, sodomy, kidnapping, and assault. He was indicted by a grand jury. During this process, he has dated other girls. He told a few of them what he was going through. He saw one girl for about 3 weeks and he ended it with her. 2 months later after she saw him with someone else out in a bar. She called district attorney and shared things about 1st girlfriend and put in a complaint about rape by him.

Asked on May 6, 2009 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am an attorney in CT, not NY, but I practice criminal defense and civil litigation.  The rules in court as far as witnesses are generally the same in all states as most state rules are based on the federal rules that we all follow.  Regardless of whether you are following the state or federal rules, both permit the accused to bring in any witness they want to support their defense.  Indeed, the US Constitution would be violated if the defendant was precluded from bringing in a witness such as the one you describe here.  Once the witness is on the stand, the issue will be whether they have personal knowledge about the subject matter and whether certain testimony they elicit is admissible (i.e. hearsay, privileged, etc.).  So, the answer to your q is yes, the accused can bring in the witness. 


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