• Felony Convictions: How to Use an Inmate's Past Against Him at Trial
  • August 28, 2012 | Author: Susan E. Coleman
  • Law Firm: Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP - San Rafael Office - Los Angeles Office
  • Part of what makes inmates fun to cross-examine at trial, and helps to impeach their credibility and reveal their true colors to the jury, is that they usually have a lengthy criminal history. Although newspapers might suggest otherwise, it is rare that an incarcerated person, whether in jail or prison, is serving time for a lone drug offense or for theft of food to feed their family. This is especially true by the time the inmate has been incarcerated long enough to file a grievance at the institution followed by a civil lawsuit. Civil lawsuits against custody staff are disproportionately filed by maximum security inmates, prisoners with life or lengthy commitment terms, and “sensitive needs” or protective custody inmates.