Court Witnesses Ability to Recognize a Voice from a Far Distance

In Patton v. State, 117 Ga. 230, hn. 5 (43 S.E. 533) (1903), the court applied the rule to nullify the testimony of a witness who claimed the ability to recognize a voice from fifty to seventy-five yards away, when only three words were spoken, and when the witness had so little experience with the voice that he had no grounds for claiming to be able to identify it. Id. at 236-237. In Patton v. State, the case establishing the rule, the Supreme Court held: Courts and juries are not bound to believe testimony as to facts incredible, impossible, or inherently improbable. Great physical laws of the universe are witnesses in each case, which cannot be impeached by man, even though speaking under the sanction of an oath. Id. The high court explained that when testing the sufficiency of the evidence, an appellate court cannot consider the credibility of witnesses, except that the court may hold that a witness's testimony is to be accorded no value under this circumstance, i.e., when it is not "in accord with natural laws, or is improbable, incredible, or seeks to establish facts which are impossible, or which, if not impossible, must in their very nature be uncertain, vague, indefinite, and insufficient to remove reasonable doubts." Id. at 234. The court characterized the exception as applying when the testimony is contrary to the "great physical laws of the universe." Id. at 235.