The legal system relies on those persons within it to tell the truth. All parties, the lawyers and judges are expected to be honest at all times!
When testifying a witnesses takes an oath. This oath includes that they “swear or affirm the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”
However, this oath is sometimes nothing more than mere words to the witness. Here’s the scenario: A witness is testifying about their actions. On the day in question there are photographs showing him, in his truck, parking his truck and exiting his truck, placing him where he says he was not.
Q: Whose truck is this?(shown a photo of his truck)
A: I can’t tell from the picture.
Q: Whose tag is this?(shown a photo of the tag)
A: Oh, that’s my wife’s truck.
Q: Who drives that truck?
A: We both do.
Q: Who was driving it that day?
A: I don’t know what day…
Q: Look at the date stamp on the picture.
A: Oh…that day, that was me.
Q: It’s true isn’t it that you parked your truck in front of your exes driveway?
A: You can’t tell from the picture whether I am parked or whether this is just a still shot of me driving by.
Q: This next photograph is of your truck with the driver’s door open and you getting out, correct?
Q: Who is that in that green t-shirt?
A: I can’t tell from the picture who that is. (It’s him!)
Judges apply the smell test to determine your veracity, your truthfulness. This fellow’s testimony did NOT pass the smell test. He knew he was NOT telling the whole truth. He lost his credibility on something seemingly trivial. Judges listen intently and judge you. That is their job. If you lie about little things or are “cute” with your answers then they may assume you’ll lie about big things.
Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Lawyer in Mississippi and recommends you tell the truth and nothing but the truth…but only answer what is asked.
You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms.