As a high profile Bergen County murder trial nears its end, several prominent attorneys weighed in on the risks and potential benefits of a defendant taking the stand in their own defense, including Kevin G. Roe of Hackensack.
“Generally speaking, defendants don’t make good witnesses in their own trial,” said Kevin G. Roe, a Hackensack attorney who said he has never put a client on the stand in a homicide case. “And it’s only really out of need that a defendant should have to take the witness stand to rebut critical, damaging evidence.”
“They, of course, open themselves up to cross-examination on issues that if they don’t handle well, they could be made to look like liars when maybe they’re not — and do more damage than good in the process,” Roe said.
“Acquittals in murder cases are not common,” Roe noted. “People most often get convicted out of their own mouths.”
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Credit: Peter J. Sampson, The Record, December 6, 2015.