What Is Impeachment in Court

In the United States, a party has the ability to discredit a witness through impeachment by cross-examining the witness on facts that cast a negative light on the witness`s credibility or, in some cases, by introducing extrinsic evidence that negatively affects the witness`s truthfulness or knowledge. If the cross-examining party attempts to provide evidence of a crime that does not involve dishonesty or false testimony, his or her success in removing the witness depends on whether or not the witness is the accused. If the witness is an accused, the onus is on the prosecution to prove that the probative value of the impeachment proceedings (which proves the accused witness`s propensity to lie) outweighs the risk of unjust harm to the accused. [8] The witness is led to contradict his own testimony in these proceedings. This is different from the inconsistent statements above. Contradictory statements are extrajudicial (hearsay) or in previous proceedings. Contradiction means that the witness says two different things in the same testimony. The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings more than 60 times, but less than a third have resulted in a full impeachment. Only eight judges – all federal judges – were convicted by the Senate and removed from office. In addition to the 15 federal judges indicted by the House of Representatives, three presidents (Andrew Johnson in 1868, William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton in 1998 and Donald J. Trump in 2019 and 2021), a cabinet secretary (William Belknap in 1876) and a U.S.

senator (William Blount of Tennessee in 1797) were also indicted. In just three cases — all with distant federal judges — the Senate took the extra step of preventing them from ever taking up a future federal position. Blount`s impeachment trial – the first ever conducted – established the principle that members of Congress and senators were not “civil servants” under the Constitution and could therefore only be removed from office by a two-thirds majority for expulsion by their respective chambers. Blount, who had been accused of inciting a Native American uprising to promote British interests in Florida, was not convicted, but the Senate expelled him. Other impeachment proceedings have shown judges sitting drunk on the bench or taking advantage of their position. However, President Johnson`s trial focused on whether the president could impeach members of the cabinet without seeking congressional approval. Johnson`s acquittal set a precedent — which has been debated since the beginning of the nation — that the president can remove appointees even if they needed Senate confirmation to serve in office. During the Federal Constitutional Convention, the authors considered whether the impeachment procedure should be included in the Constitution, the place and procedure of such trials, what crimes should justify impeachment and the likelihood of a conviction. Rufus King of Massachusetts argued that it would compromise the separation of powers if Parliament issued a verdict on executive power; It is better for a president to be punished by elections.

“The executive branch should hold its place for a limited term like members of the legislature,” King said, so “he has been regularly judged by his constituents for his conduct.” However, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said impeachment is a way to keep the executive branch at bay: “A good judge will not fear [impeachment]. A bad one should be kept in fear of them. Another example is more extreme. Suppose the accused is tried for possession of heroin. The accused`s testimony will, of course, deny possession of the drug in question. Suppose the accused testifies foolishly during a direct interrogation: “In fact, I have never owned a heroine in my life.” The prosecutor can then cross-examine him with a heroin display seized on an unrelated occasion, even if it was seized in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. [13] Walder led to a decision that an accused can be charged by his confession, even if the confession was obtained in violation of his Miranda rights. [14] Harris, in turn, led to a decision that allowed for similar impeachment through physical evidence that had been suppressed in the same case as if it had been taken away from the defendant in violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment. [15] The witness was unable to feel what he claimed to have (how he could not see where he came from), or he did not have the required mental capacity.

The old customary law would exclude an incompetent witness from testifying. Modern rules, such as the Federal Rules of Evidence, allow the witness on the witness stand (in most cases) to consider jurisdiction as one of the many factors that juries must consider in determining the credibility of the witness. If the opponent proves that he has already made an contradictory statement and suggests that he was “conducted” after that testimony and before the trial, or that he or she otherwise developed a ground for lying in court, rehabilitation may be attempted by demonstrating that the witness before the alleged events that triggered the alleged motive for lying, has already made a concurring statement (in accordance with the statement). Jurors are left with two pre-trial statements that are incompatible with each other, but only one is incompatible with testimony, and both were made before the witness was brought to do so. This could lead to a softening of the charge that the testimony came from a bribe. Moreover, there is always a reason to allow a previous consistent statement made at any time before the trial to explain what is arguably only a seemingly inconsistent statement that is subject to interpretation, para. B example if it had been taken out of context that would explain the statement. Courts allow parties to cross-examine a witness in order to charge them on the basis of evidence of bias. The witness`s bias can be catalyzed by a number of circumstances, ranging from the witness`s inbreeding to a party to his or her financial share in the outcome of the dispute. Most U.S.

jurisdictions require a counter-examiner to lay the groundwork before extrinsic evidence can be used to prove bias for impeachment purposes. Although Rule 610 provides that evidence of “a witness`s religious beliefs or opinions is not admissible to attack or support the witness`s credibility,” an investigation into the witness`s religious beliefs or opinions for the purpose of interest or bias based on those beliefs is not covered by the prohibition of the rule. [3] The House of Representatives brings charges against federal officials in the course of its oversight and investigative functions. Individual members of the House of Representatives may introduce impeachment resolutions as regular bills, or the House may initiate proceedings by passing a resolution authorizing an investigation. The Judiciary Committee is normally responsible for impeachment, but special committees investigated the charges before the Judicial Committee was created in 1813. The committee then decides whether to initiate articles of impeachment proceedings against the accused official and to report them to the plenary of the House. If the articles are passed (by simple majority), the House of Representatives appoints by resolution members to direct the subsequent Senate process on its behalf. These managers act as prosecutors in the Senate and are generally members of the Judicial Committee.

The number of managers varied from one impeachment proceeding to another, but traditionally it was an odd number. The partisan composition of managers also varied by type of impeachment proceeding, but managers, by definition, still support the House`s impeachment action. In addition, a party may charge a witness with “bad” character by providing evidence of the witness`s previous conviction for a crime, subject to a set of rules set out in paragraph 609(a). [7] If the witness`s previous conviction for a crime involving dishonesty or false testimony has been made, the evidence of that crime is admissible for the purposes of impeachment, whether it is an offence or a crime. If the witness`s previous conviction was for a crime that did not involve dishonesty or false testimony, evidence of conviction for impeachment proceedings is admissible only for the crimes; Administrative offences are inadmissible. In U.S. evidence law, the removal of witnesses is the process of challenging the credibility of a person testifying in a trial. The Federal Rules of Evidence contain the rules of impeachment in U.S. federal courts. Impeachment comes from British constitutional history. The process developed from the 14th century.

It was a way for parliament to hold the king`s ministers accountable for their public actions. Impeachment, as Alexander Hamilton of New York explained in Federalist 65, differs from civil or criminal courts in that it is only “misconduct by public men, or in other words, the abuse or violation of public trust.” The constitutions of each state had provided for impeachment for “mismanagement” or “corruption” before the drafting of the US Constitution. And the founders, fearing the risk of abuse of executive power, considered impeachment so important that they incorporated it into the Constitution even before defining the contours of the presidency. .