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Dealing With Inconsistencies in Testimony During Trial

What happens when a jury has to consider inconsistent evidence during trial? Generally, it is up to the jury to determine which evidence is believable and which evidence is not. In a June 2024 case before the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, the higher court determined that even though there were inconsistencies in the trial court record, the inconsistencies were not enough to reverse a defendant’s conviction and resulting sentence for aggravated assault.

Inconsistencies in Question

The trial for this case related to an aggravated assault that happened at an outdoor birthday party. Two men at the party got into an altercation once one of the men made unwanted sexual advances toward the second man’s girlfriend. The second man attacked, and the first man sustained several injuries from the altercation. Police arrived at the party and arrested the person who became the defendant in this case.

There were several witnesses to the assault, and they testified during trial. The first witness said that the defendant kicked the victim while he was unconscious. Another said that she did not see the defendant kick or hit the victim after the victim was already on the ground. Whether the defendant assaulted the victim after he fell to the ground was important because this “continuous” conduct would take the crime from assault to aggravated assault.

The Court’s Decision

The jury found the defendant guilty, and he was sentenced to several years in prison as a result. The defendant quickly appealed, arguing the inconsistent testimony meant the evidence was insufficient for his guilty conviction.
The higher court disagreed. When there are inconsistencies in witnesses’ testimony, it is the jury’s job to decide which witness is more credible. The appeals court should not question the jury’s decision when it relates to a credibility determination, and the court therefore trusted that the jury reasonably believed the first witness’s testimony during the proceedings.

Inconsistent testimony is different from insufficient testimony, noted the court. While this difference can seem frustrating, a competent Phoenix violent crimes attorney can help you sort through the nuances of the case law and figure out how to fight for your rights during your own criminal proceedings.

Do You Need a Phoenix Violent Crimes Attorney in Your Corner?

If you or a loved one has been criminally charged in Arizona, give our office a call to talk through a defense strategy that works for you. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we represent defendants in proceedings related to violent crimes, sex offenses, disorderly conduct, drug crimes, theft, and more. Our strategy is based on the belief that every individual deserves a hard-working, aggressive defense attorney, and we are proud to work hard on behalf of our client community.

If you haven’t yet spoken with an experienced Phoenix violent crimes attorney about your case, call us today for a free and confidential consultation at (480) 413-1499. You can also fill out our online form to tell us about your case and have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible to talk through next steps.


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