Document-Based Evidence in Maryland Federal Criminal Cases
Document-based evidence in Maryland federal criminal cases can be used in different ways and may be quite effective. Often, the document is a contemporaneous account by a person. Documents can refer to real-time business records or a report written by somebody at the time the event happened. If you want to know more about the value of document-based evidence in federal cases, speak with an experienced federal defense attorney that could answer your questions.
Using Document Based Evidence to Build a Case
Document-based evidence in Maryland federal criminal cases can be instrumental to proving certain elements, and building a defense. Sometimes a trial occurs years or more than a decade after the incident took place. Memories fade, people remember things differently, witnesses may be difficult or impossible to track down. If a person has a document that was created at the time or close to the time in question, there is some inherent authenticity to the document. A jury may hold on to that because there is an impression that the document does not lie. It speaks for itself.
Whereas, when somebody comes into court and tries to remember something that happened years ago, it is going to be harder to be convinced that the person’s memory is 100 percent accurate. Business records have some additional reliability because generally those records are kept for conducting a business, not for building a criminal case or criminal defense.
How the Defense Can Challenge the Prosecution’s Document Based Evidence
The purpose of the documents can be another factor the defense uses to enhance their reliability because much of the evidence coming from the police or government was developed in the course of an investigation. The police may develop their report with the defendant already in mind months or even years after the incident in question. In those cases, the defense attorney can point to that and say, that the prosecution’s documents are less reliable because the agenda or the intent of the document was not to get at the truth, it was to convict the defendant or build a case against them. Business records or contemporaneous accounts created before an investigation even started are harder to paint as being biased as opposed to just simply being accurate accounts of the issue.
Value of Document Based Evidence in Federal Criminal Cases in Maryland
The document-based evidence in Maryland federal criminal cases is also helpful because it is tangible. Many times, juries like to see the records that were kept. They can take the records with them back into the jury room to conduct their investigation when the trial is over. The jury can refer back to the records to give them a foundation to help them in their analysis of the evidence because they do not get transcripts of testimony.
A juror has to remember everything they were told during the trial. If they have documents with key pieces of information, jury members can look at the documents to refresh their memory of other pieces of information in the case. When there is a note from the testimony that is not as accurate or thorough as it might be, a good documentary piece of evidence can be influential to come to a verdict in the case. If an individual wants to know more about document-based evidence and how it could benefit their case, they should consult a knowledgeable federal defense attorney that could help.