Tips on Explaining the Defendant’s Story in A Self-Defense Case
In order to get the issue of self-defense in a Texas murder case the defendant must almost always testify at his or her trial. When that happens they will always be cross-examined by the prosecutor. The prosecutor will always grill the defendant on all the details of what happened during the incident. If the defendant can’t recall some fact such as, how many shots were fired or where the parties were positioned, the prosecution will argue to the defendant isn’t a credible witness.
To rebut this prosecution argument the defense should take a page out of police shootings investigations. Studies show when officers are in the middle of a shootout they do not accurately recall facts such as how many shots were fired. When engaged in a firefight the officer has tunnel vision and is concentrating on the threat and how to eliminate that threat. Use this information to your advantage during cross-examinations of the police officers in your case. Find out if the detective has investigated officer involved shootings. If the detective has then have him explain how officers don’t recall all details surrounding the shooting. How traumatic the event is. How the officer can recall more details after time has passed.
Then when the defendant testifies the prosecutions cross-examination on lack of details will not have as great an effect. You can use the detectives answers about police shootings in the closing argument.