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2.5-1 Credibility of Witnesses

Revised to January 1, 2008

The credibility of witnesses and the weight to be given to their testimony are matters for you as jurors to determine.  However, there are some principles that you should keep in mind.  No fact is, of course, to be determined merely by the number of witnesses who testify for or against it; it is the quality and not the quantity of testimony that controls.  In weighing the testimony of each witness you should consider the witness's appearance on the stand and whether the witness has an interest of whatever sort in the outcome of the trial.  You should consider a witness's opportunity and ability to observe facts correctly and to remember them truly and accurately, and you should test the evidence each witness gives you by your own knowledge of human nature and the motives that influence and control human actions.  You may consider the reasonableness of what the witness says and the consistency or inconsistency of (his/her) testimony.  You may consider (his/her) testimony in relation to facts that you find to have been otherwise proven.  You may believe all of what a witness tells you, some of what a witness tells you, or none of what a particular witness tells you.  You need not believe any particular number of witnesses and you may reject uncontradicted testimony if you find it reasonable to do so.  In short, you are to apply the same considerations and use the same sound judgment and common sense that you use for questions of truth and veracity in your daily life.

Notes

A complete and accurate charge on credibility may require only the first and last sentences of this instruction.  The remaining principles are recommended to provide additional guidance to the jury as warranted in any given case. 
 


 

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