By Alan Bean
The judicial system doesn’t like recantations. When a witness recants you know they are capable of lying. But when did they lie; at trial or after trial?
Motivation is always difficult to determine. Is the witness changing her story because of a guilty conscience, or is she merely succumbing to social pressure?
And then there’s the big issue: judicial credibility. The criminal justice system is only as credible as the state witnesses who take the stand. Prosecutors can’t acknowledge that a star witness lied under oath without calling the accuracy and finality of the judicial process into question. Lying witnesses don’t invalidate the system, of course; but they do undermine confidence in legal outcomes.
As Caiaphas told the Sanhedrin in John’s Gospel: “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
The tragic story of John Kinsel illustrates how…
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