In Maine, we have certain rights. As either the accused or the victim, we have rights. Thankfully the law is based upon balance, especially while considering the act of cross examination of victims of a crime at trial.
Some people might feel that victims of crime, because they have suffered a crime committed against them, that they should be treated gently by not scrutinizing the details of their story, which was the basis of the crime. However, the verifiability of the victim’s story is important as it is often the only evidence supporting the criminal charge against the defendant. And this evidence is tested through cross-examination at trial, which criminal defendants have the constitutional right to do.
I do not doubt that testifying in open court can be an unpleasant and stressful experience for the victim. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that cross-examining all witnesses, including the victim, is a vital part of the legal process. In some instances, the victim’s version of what happened is the sole basis of the criminal charges against the defendant. Therefore, the victim’s statements are essential. If the victim’s statements on the stand differ from the original statement given at the time of the incident, the inconsistency is significant to challenging the State’s case. Also in the legal process, it is important to assure that innocent or mistakenly accused individuals are not convicted of crimes that they did not in fact commit.
During the course of trial proceedings and cross-examination, if information surfaces that raises doubt whether the crime was committed by the named defendant, then this is significant for justice and the legitimacy of the process.
At The Nielsen Group, we fight to protect your rights and advocate aggressively for your side of the story. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.