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Depositions in Missouri Criminal Cases

Depositions in Missouri Criminal Cases

Depositions consist of out of court testimony of a witness, under oath, that is recorded by a reporter, and reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes. Depositions can often be a crucial tool in locking witnesses into statements or finding inconsistencies in witnesses’ prior statements.

Missouri rules require a party to give opposing counsel seven days notice before taking a deposition and should generally take place within the county where the deposition witness resides. Additionally, the defendant is not allowed to attend a discovery deposition without agreement by the parties or by order of the court. Others who generally are not allowed to attend are the spouse of a witness, lead investigators of a case, and the media. Those whom are allowed are family members of a child victim, opposing expert witnesses, and attorneys for a witness (although this attorney’s role is limited).

The standard for questions within a deposition is anything that may lead to admissible evidence and is not covered by a privilege. Relevant privileges are attorney-client, physician, sealed juvenile records, mental health history (unless relevant to a witnesses memory of an event, location of confidential surveillance cameras, identity of a confidential informant, priest-penitent privilege, or questions covered by the rape-shield statute to name a few.

While depositions can be costly and time consuming, they are often an important way to investigate a client’s case and can lead to critical impeachment of a witness. The St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. regularly advise clients when depositions would be useful and use them as an aggressive tactic to successful litigation. If you have been charged with a crime, call Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. to discuss the many different ways we can approach your case and defend your freedom.