A person who provides evidence that someone accused of a crime was elsewhere when the crime took place.
Alibi Witness Details
An alibi refers to evidence that offers an excuse or defense for someone accused of a crime. An alibi witness is a person providing the evidence to support a defendant by confirming the defendant was not at the crime scene when the crime occurred. What they observed acts as the evidence. An alibi witness can be interviewed in criminal investigations or take the stand to testify during a trial.
For instance, if detectives suspect Mary of committing a robbery but she was in class during the heist's time, her classmates and teacher can act as alibi witnesses. Since Mary couldn't have been in two places at once, she can be released as a suspect or have enough reasonable doubt for acquittal.
A witness who provides a false alibi can face criminal offenses such as obstruction of justice, perjury, or engaging in a cover-up. A false alibi can also have negative consequences for the trial.
Real-World Example Of An Alibi Witness
Defense lawyers will call alibi witnesses to testify in court to support their client's defense of being innocent of a crime. In the case of Remon Lee, Petitioner vs. Mike Kemna, Superintendent, Crossroads Correctional Center, Remon Lee's entire defense was his alibi from witnesses.
Law enforcement indicted Lee for first-degree murder and armed criminal action in Kansas City, Missouri. However, Lee claims he was in California with family at the time of the crimes. His three alibi witnesses were his mother, stepfather, and sister, whom he was visiting. His family traveled to Missouri to testify but were absent when Lee's lawyer sought to present their testimonies.
The judge denied a motion for continuance and resumed trial by ruling the witnesses had abandoned Lee. The jury found Lee guilty. Lee later found out a court official told his family that the trial didn't need their testimonies and that they should leave the courthouse. He submitted a plea that the courts deprived him of due process to present his defense.
Significance Of An Alibi Witness
In court, a strong alibi from a witness can determine whether a jury convicts someone of a crime. Sometimes credible alibis can also eliminate someone as a suspect or convince a prosecutor to drop charges and not pursue it in court.
The credibility of the witness providing the alibi is crucial. For example, if your alibi witness is your mother claiming you were at home watching T.V with her, the jury may wonder if she is lying to protect you. A waitress at a restaurant you do not know can present as a stronger alibi witness.
Additionally, the more alibi witnesses someone has to confirm the same story, the better. For example, if the waitress, bartender, and security guard at the restaurant can confirm you were eating at the time of the crime, your alibi defense will be stronger.
Alibi Witness vs. Character Witness
Both alibi and character witnesses can provide testimony in court to support someone accused of a crime. However, detectives will often consider an alibi witness's account before charging someone to determine whether they are a liable suspect.
In court, alibi witnesses provide evidence that someone was not at the crime scene when the crime took place. A character witness provides testimony stating that the accused is not the type of person to commit the crime. Character witnesses will inform the jury of a person's traits and their reputation in the community. While an alibi witness is usually used to support the accused, a character witness can also provide negative information against the accused.
Alibi Witness vs. Alibi Network
An alibi network, also known as an alibi agency, is an organization that creates lies and excuses for its customers. Originating in Japan in the 1990s, these services appeared in Europe in 2004.
Although immoral, alibi networks provide alibis for informal situations like when someone wants to cheat on their spouse or avoid a family function, so it is not illegal. An alibi witness will provide a defense to someone for a crime, and it is illegal to pay someone to be your alibi witness.