Turn State's Evidence

Definition - What does Turn State's Evidence mean?

Turn state's evidence refers to an accused criminal "turning" on an accomplice in the crime by testifying against that person. This is typically done so that the accused criminal can get a reduced sentence, have charges dropped, etc. Such testimonies can be highly significant in criminal cases. They can dramatically affect the credibility of the state's argument.

Justipedia explains Turn State's Evidence

Turning state's evidence often occurs if the prosecution knows that it could use the testimony of one criminal to potentially improve the case against a more serious criminal. For example, the prosecution may try to convince a drug dealer to turn state's evidence against the drug dealer's distributor. In such a case, the prosecution may offer the drug dealer a one-year jail sentence as opposed to a three-year jail sentence for agreeing to testify against the distributor.

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