Corroboration

Overview of the trial technique of corroboration:
corroboration

– Start with the victim/witness statements/testimony, sensory impressions, about the
event.

14 TCAP sample DNA & Forensic Biology predicate questions: http://tinyurl.com/933ztz515 Elizabeth Lutes Hillman, Note, The “Good Soldier” Defense: Character Evidence and Military Rank at Courts-Martial, 108 Yale  J. 879, 894-900 (1999).

– Prove everything, however small, that you can to show that fact was correct. The more of the witness’ account is shown to be accurate, the more the rest of the account is believable.

-Examples: lighting – if the victim says there was a streetlight, prove that it was working
through government records. If the victim says she walked with the offender by a certain
route, find those who saw them on the route. If she says that the offender’s car had a tree-
shaped air freshener, prove that. If she says she heard a train whistle, get the schedule. Be
creative!

-Argue: corroborative facts show that the rest of her testimony is true.

What sounds strange? What looks strange? The “un-normal” things in a case are often the most
persuasive. If the victim’s statement contains something that sounds odd, that fact can be the most
persuasive. – Is there a sensory impression that has no connection with reality? “How could anyone make that up?” is the question to ask the jury. Accounts which sound like rape myths are questionable.

Why do you believe the victim? Craft your case to support those reasons, communicate them to jury; act like you believe: never look doubtful of victim statements; when explaining counter-normative behavior, present as normal, not an exception; do not use “he said-she said” – it suggests both stories are equal.

Why do you doubt the victim? Someone on jury will share concerns; craft case, including experts, to explain “problems” in logical, common-sense way; argue behavior of “trauma victims” rather than sexual assault victims.” Normalize the counter-normative facts.

corroborative facts

sexual assault victims