Friday, September 08, 2006

How to argue credibility on appeal

I am not going to make it a habit of talking about other jurisdictions' cases, but I agree with Appellate Law & Practice's surprise about United States v. Henderson, a First Circuit case reversing a weapons violation on suppression grounds. The First Circuit held in its unusual appellate decision:
In support of this assertion, Henderson emphasizes that Kominsky's [the police officer] testimony was riddled with proven inaccuracies and contradictions and that the district court explicitly disbelieved important portions of Kominsky's testimony. We agree with Henderson. After a careful review of this unusual record, we are convinced that this is one of those rare cases in which a district court's credibility determination is clearly erroneous.

Because the First Circuit found the officer's testimony so incredible, it ordered suppression of evidence. Although it is unusual, the KSC has, at least once, made a similar credibility determination of a witness. See State v. Matlock, 233 Kan. 1, 660 P.2d 945 (1983) (uncorroborated testimony of prosecutrix was unbelievable to such extent that it was not sufficient to sustain conviction of defendant). Maybe others know of other similar findings regarding credibility on appeal?

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