Can a defendant be charged guilty in a bench trial if the alleged victim is stating that it did not happen?

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Can a defendant be charged guilty in a bench trial if the alleged victim is stating that it did not happen?

A defendant has a bench trial for a level a misdemeanor domestic battery. However, the victim is stating that she lied and it never happened and has even written this in a statement for the judge. Is there any way the defendant could still be found guilty at a bench trial? The defendant is on parole and incarcerated with a parole hold so he does not want to plead guilty to something that he didn’t do and risk serving the rest of his parole. The defendant has no violent background. What should we expect at a bench trial for domestic battery? No witnesses but the alleged victim who has stated she lied about it.

Asked on May 21, 2019 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

He can be convicted if:
1) There was physical evidence of the attack--e.g. a black eye from a punch; injuries treated by a doctor or ER; etc.
2) It appears to the court (i.e. to the judge) that based on her demeanor and answers to questions when when testifying, that the victim is likely lying in court--perhaps out of love, perhaps because she is afraid to tell the truth, etc.--and that her earlier statements that she was assaulted were true. The judge can decide which of her statements are more credible.


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