The New International Encyclopædia/State's Evidence

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STATE'S EVIDENCE (or, in England, King's or Queen's Evidence). A popular phrase used to denote the testimony given by an accomplice in the commission of a crime against the other accomplices on their trial, under an agreement or understanding with the prosecuting officer that the witness shall not be brought to trial for his part in the crime, in consideration of his aid to the State. Such an agreement or understanding on the part of the prosecution is not valid and enforceable as a matter of law, but in practice such agreements are usually adhered to by the prosecutor as a matter of good faith and are countenanced by courts as a justifiable and proper means of securing convictions for crime. In several States there are statutes providing that there shall be no conviction for crime upon the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice. In applying this statute, whether a witness is an accomplice whose testimony requires corroboration is a question for the jury, unless the facts are undisputed or the question rests upon some rule of law, where it must be passed upon by the court. See Accomplice; Principal; Accessory.