What is a First Complaint witness in a charge of Indecent Assault and Battery in Massachusetts
When you face a sexual assault allegation, whether Rape or Indecent Assault and Battery, one of the key witnesses in the case will be the person that victim told about the allegations first.
Normally, if a victim tells someone else that something happened, those statements would be hearsay and inadmissible in Court. The 1st Complaint doctrine is an exception to the hearsay rule used in sexual assault cases. It was created because of the belief that jurors would infer that if something happened
A First Complaint Witness is a witness in a Sexual Assault crime, like an Indecent Assault and Battery or Rape charge. This witness is the first person that the victim reported the crime to.
Typically, a statement of the victim to another person would be regarded as hearsay and inadmissible in Court. However, the first complaint doctrine is an exception to this general rule of evidence. This type of evidence is permitted in sexual assault cases because the theory that the victim would generally tell someone if an incident happened. Accordingly, the rules of evidence have been changed to allow for this general belief among how a victim would react by society.
In Massachusetts, the Commonwealth can call one person who the complaining witness told first about the incident. As a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer, during the case, we would request the name of the first complaint witness. The Commonwealth does not get to pick who this witness is, it is simply the first person the complaint told about the allegations.
Why is the 1st Complaint Witness important in a Indecent Assault and Battery or Sexual Assault case?
The 1st Complaint witness can potential reveal inconsistencies between the first report of the incident and the alleged victim’s testimony on the day of trial. Additionally, the First Complaint witness may help to reveal what else was going on in the complaint’s life to lead to the fabricated allegations.
Indecent Assault and Battery charges, Rape Charges and Sexual Assault cases often involve complex issues of evidence law that can make the difference in the outcome of the case. Making sure the jury does not hear prejudicial and misleading evidence is a critical objective of your lawyer both during trial and prior to trial.
If you have questions about What a 1st Complaint Witness is and how to best defend a Sexual Assault allegation, feel free to call or text Attorney DelSignore at 781-686-5924. It is never too early or late to call; at DelSignore Law, we are here to help.