Recanted Witness Testimony

The Court considered whether a witness had recanted her testimony in State v. Covender, 9th Dist. No. 07CA009228, 2008 Ohio 1453. As a young child, the witness accused her stepfather of molesting her and testified against him at trial. Years later, the witness voluntarily came forward as an adult and submitted an affidavit in support of Mr. Covender's motion for a new trial. By affidavit, the witness testified that Mr. Covender had never hurt her or attempted to touch her inappropriately. Id. at P13. She explained that, as a child, she felt pressured to say what the adults around her wanted her to say. Id. At an evidentiary hearing on the motion, the witness was asked: "And your testimony is that what you stated in 1996 was not true?" Id. at P14. The witness responded "yes." Id. In determining whether a witness has recanted, a court "must determine whether a witness presented evidence, in the form of the witness's own formal or public statements, that, if believed, would convince the . . . court that he or she testified falsely" on a prior occasion. Id. at P21 (Dickinson, J., concurring in part, and dissenting in part).