Transcript: Hi, I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub.
This video addresses the subject of witness tampering.
About 25 years ago, I was in the middle of a trial when the defense attorney attempted to introduce a document that we had long been searching for in discovery. We had requested the document and subpoenaed it, but it was never produced to us. But, lo and behold, the defense attorney produced it in trial. Well, he tried to introduce it and I asked to examine the document. When I did so, I ran my finger across the signature and it was still smeary or wet. This document had been forged. It had been signed very recently and was represented to the court as having been signed six years earlier. It was a forgery. It was a fake. So what do you think? Would the creation of a fake document, a forgery, would that constitute witness tampering? You bet. Indiana defines the Class D felony of witness tampering in four different ways or categories.
First, a person who makes a false or fake document for the purpose of trying to induce a court to accept that document, either in an official proceeding or in part of an investigation. That constitutes witness tampering. Other definitions include anyone who alters or tampers with an official record or a record that is to be presented in front of an official court or body. Another category is someone who communicates directly or indirectly with a juror in a manner that is not permitted by the court in an attempt to try to influence the outcome of a proceeding.
Another category is trying to influence a witness to ignore subpoenas, to not appear in court, or to otherwise hide themselves so that they cannot be called into court to testify. We’ve had this, in fact, happen in trials several times in the past and we always aggressively follow up to insist that the court penalize this kind of conduct.
Why am I telling you this?
Because we have to fight this type of conduct all the time and we do so aggressively to protect our client’s best interest. In medical malpractice cases, target defendants frequently try to influence coworkers, employees, and others not to testify or to change their testimony. We’ve even had hospitals actually change the official record and luckily in cases we’ve been able to have a comparison record that we were able to obtain prior to getting the official record and we can see the hospital changed notes from nurses and doctors simply to try to cover their tracks in a malpractice case.
We’ve seen it all before, and we aggressively fight on behalf of our clients to protect them from this type of evidence tampering.
If you need legal help right now in Indiana in an injury claim, call us at (219) 736-9700, or fill out a consultation form on our website and send it in to us.