Legal Question in Criminal Law in Minnesota

I was high on meth and i was upset with my husband so i stabbed myself. My husband found me and called the police. I was unconscious by the time police came and my husband was arrested for assault. When I woke up in the hospital I told the police it was not him who stabbed me but the prosecutor went ahead and charged him anyways. He is taking it to trial and I'm worried about telling them I did it to myself while I was on meth. What should I do?

Asked on 9/16/18, 10:44 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Thomas C. Gallagher Gallagher Criminal Defense

It is common for there to be a conflict of interest between a prosecuting attorney and a witness. A frequent scenario is where a witness falsely tells police someone assaulted them; but later tells the truth to the prosecuting attorney. This creates a conflict of interest between the prosecuting attorney and the witness since prosecutors often view getting the conviction as their primary goal. As a result, it may be against the self-interest of the prosecutor to believe a witness who truthfully recants a prior false allegation. Sometimes prosecutors will exert a great amount of pressure on the witness, to testify consistent with their original statement -- even to the point of witness tampering and subornation of perjury. In that situation, probably the best thing that witness can do is to retain their own lawyer to counsel and help protect them from undue influence, and to asset rights under Minnesota's Crime Victim Rights statute, Chapter 611A.

Keeping mind that lying under oath in court is a felony crime of perjury, and it's a bad idea to do lie in court for that as well as other reasons -- even under sever pressure from a prosecutor. You can hire a lawyer for protection.

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Answered on 9/16/18, 11:00 am

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