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30 - What is impeachment?

Impeachment is a legal term of art which can be found in the Arizona Rules of Evidence.  It is a tool that the court allows either side to use to attack a witness who has changed his or her story on the stand.  In order to effectively and correctly impeach a witness, the party must call another witness to the stand who heard the original statement and can testify to its content.  In the case of a victim who has changed his or her story, the state can call a separate witness to the stand to retell the victim’s original story after the victim has testified inconsistently as long as the witness was told the original story by the victim.  This is an effective tool which allows the state to proceed with criminal prosecution even when the victim has admitted to lying.

FAQ - Sex Crime Charges in Arizona