Alibi Defense

Alibi Defense in the United States

An assertion that a criminal defendant was somewhere else at the time a crime was committed. If an alibi can be established, it conclusively demonstrates that a defendant could not be guilty of the criminal charge. An alibi defense can be asserted by a defendant through his or her own testimony. It is also possible, and probably more credible, to establish an alibi by calling other persons to testify as to the defendant’s whereabouts at the time of the crime.

See Also

Affirmative Defense (Criminal Process) Cross-Examination (Criminal Process) Witness (Criminal Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Advancing a believable alibi defense can be very effective for a criminal defendant. It is also subject to both federal and state rules of criminal procedure. Federal rules as well as those governing most states require a defendant to give prior notice of an alibi defense. Any witnesses called to support the alibi defense must be disclosed in advance. Disclosure rules are generally intended to make both sides aware of information and allow them to prepare their cases accordingly. The notice of alibi rule gives the prosecutor an opportu- joity to investigate alibi testimony in advance and prepare for cross-examination of alibi witnesses. Prior disclosure of alibi witnesses may also allow a prosecutor to impeach their testimony by calling other witnesses who might, for example, indicate a long-term friendship between the defendant and the alibi witness. If a long-term friendship could be shown, it might suggest that the alibi witness had motive to lie on behalf of the defendant.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Alibi Defense from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Alibi Defense: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Alibi Defense. This part provides references, in relation to Alibi Defense, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Alibi Defense by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Alibi Defense and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Alibi Defense or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Alibi Defense and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Alibi Defense. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Alibi Defense should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Alibi Defense when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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