Monday, May 19, 2008


Vouching: A Defense Attorney's Guide to Witness Credibility, Law and Strategy, by Donna Lee Elm, is a new book from the ABA Criminal Justice Section. Vouching:

What are those 'proper bounds' when arguing credibility of witnesses? Specifically, what is 'vouching?' Although ethics rules are explicit and firm, commentators are quick to point out that case law is inconsistent, fact-driven, and highly protective of convictions

Most trial lawyers know vouching, like obscenity, when they see it -- even if they have trouble formulating a definition. Understanding the principles that underlie vouching has been confounded by how it is usually defined: not by why it is problematic, but instead by how it most commonly appears. The basic concept of vouching, then, is that it is an improper means of bolstering a witness's credibility. Witnesses' reliability and honesty virtually always arises at trial, so practitioners frequently find that they need to 'rehabilitate' or support their witnesses' statements.

This one-of-a-kind book supplies all you need to know about this sometimes misunderstood concept. In fifteen chapters you'll find the topic of vouching covered from every angle, backed up with relevant case citations whenever applicable. You'll discover when it's permissible, and when it's prohibited. You'll get a cleared picture of where the illusive grey areas lie, and learn to recognize when it's been crossed. If you are a trial lawyer, prosecution or defense, you need this book to help establish your expertise in the sometimes confusing area of vouching.
It's in the Library: KF8950 .E46 2008 at Classified Stacks.

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