Legal Memorandum: Apellate review of previous court’s determinations of credibility

Issue: Under Illinois law, following a court trial, how does an appeals court view determinations of credibility?

Area of Law: Litigation Practice & Procedure, Litigation Practice and Procedure
Keywords: ; Credibility; Witness Credibility; Briggers Factors
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

It is the province of the trial court to make credibility determinations, and we defer to those determinations. People v. Berland, 74 Ill.2d 286, 305-06 (1978). The trial judge heard all the arguments from the defense about the identification testimony, weighed the evidence, and ultimately favored the testimony of Israel and Mara over any contradictory evidence or argument. And the evidence of their identifications, when evaluated according to the Biggers factors, supported the trial court’s findings.

The first Biggers factor-whether the witnesses had an adequate opportunity to view the offender-has often been deemed "the most important factor." People v. Wehrwein, 190 Ill.App.3d 35, 39 (1989).  But it is the responsibility of the trier of fact-not this court-to judge the credibility of the witnesses and resolve conflicts in their testimony. People v. Coleman, 301 Ill.App.3d 37, 42 (1998).

In re Bruce G., No. 1-15-1996  2016.IL.000026 (Ill. App. Dist.1 02/04/2016).

Date: March 1, 2016

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