University of Pittsburgh

David Harris on the Gathering of Evidence Against Victims by Sandusky Defense

Publish Date/Time: 
May 9, 2012

Professor David Harris explained to the Associated Press why defense attorneys for former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky are allowed to gather negative evidence against Sandusky's alleged victims.  Defense lawyers would attempt to use this evidence to discredit victims if the victims testify against Sandusky in a trial.  Professor Harris explained that this is allowed in order to secure the constitutional rights of people accused of crimes, but the use of the evidence is often limited -- sometimes it is even excluded -- by the rules of evidence as interpreted by the judge.  According to Professor Harris, the use of some kinds of negative evidence can be used to attack the credibility of the witness, but "[t]hat doesn't mean the witness isn't telling the truth -- it simply opens up an avenue for the witness to be attacked." The AP story appeared in electronic and print media outlets across the country.


Read the AP story here.

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