September 23, 2023


In court docket dramas on TV or within the films, there is regularly a scene the place a witness, even after swearing on a stack of Bibles and his useless mom’s grave that he’ll inform the reality, the entire fact and not anything however the fact, takes the witness stand after which says one thing that is not true.

Weird Colorado Laws

On-screen, one of the vital legal professionals leaps to their toes, issues their finger on the witness, and shouts for the entire court docket to listen to:


Within the State of Colorado, on the other hand, this will by no means occur – there are not any “lies” or “liars” in Colorado courts.

In Colorado, because the Colorado Splendid Court docket wrote in relation to Crider v. Other folks, 186 P.3d 39, 41 (Colo. 2008), “it’s mistaken for a legal professional to make use of any type of the phrase ‘lie’ in characterizing for a jury a witness’s testimony or his truthfulness.”

That exact phrase is banned “for numerous causes. It’s prohibited now not simplest as it poses a chance of speaking the legal professional’s non-public opinion concerning the veracity of a witness and implying that the legal professional is aware of data now not prior to the jury, but in addition merely since the phrase ‘lie’ is an inflammatory time period, most probably (whether or not or now not in truth designed) to awaken robust and detrimental emotional reactions towards the witness.”

Way back to in 1981, the Colorado Splendid Court docket has mentioned, as they did in relation to Hughes v. State, 437 A. 2nd 559, 571 (Colo. 1981), “In our opinion, ‘liar’ is an epithet for use sparingly in argument to the jury. This can be a flashboard much more likely to create warmth in a contentious court docket than it’s to light up the seek for fact. […] We are saying this as a result of a witness or a celebration could also be unsuitable, uninformed, or faulty in his details or conclusions in some ways, and but now not be a liar; labeling a witness as a ‘liar’ or to argue that he has ‘lied’ is to mention one thing rather other about his testimony.”

“Some phrases or analogies by means of their very nature resonate extra powerfully within the center and minds of the jury,” the Colorado Splendid Court docket wrote in relation to Domingo-Gomez v. Other folks, 125 P.3d 1043 1050 (Colo. 2005). Such phrases “evoke robust reactions in jurors and take them down the trail against a conviction the place the proof does now not essentially lead. The phrase ‘lie’ is this kind of robust expression that it essentially displays the private opinion of the speaker. When spoken by means of the State’s consultant within the court docket, the phrase ‘lie’ has the damaging doable of swaying the jury from their accountability to decide the accused’s guilt or innocence at the proof correctly introduced at trial.”

In different phrases, if a legal professional calls one thing a “lie,” it’s this kind of stunning curse {that a} jury would possibly not be capable to recover from it, and would possibly convict an differently blameless individual, simply because they really feel so strongly about “liars.”

Thus, no legal professional is permitted to ever use any variation of the phrase “lie” in Colorado courtrooms.

Whilst extraordinary regulations are entertaining to examine, we all know that if you find yourself sitting within the court docket, it’s hardly ever a laugh or entertaining. The skilled prison protection workforce at The Regulation Places of work of Steven Rodemer is right here that will help you navigate the prison justice machine and make sure your rights are secure all over the method. Touch us as of late to make sure you get the skilled prison illustration you deserve.