Can a Party Impeach Its Own Witness In Texas ?
In Hughes v. State, 4 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999) the court stated that Rule 607 of the Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence permits the credibility of a witness to be attacked by any party, including the party calling the witness. Id. at 5.
Rule 607 abandoned the traditional "voucher" rule which prohibited a party from impeaching its own witness. Id. at 5.
The rule also dispensed with the "surprise and injury" exception to the "voucher" rule which served as a prerequisite to impeaching one's own witness. Id. at 5.
This rule provides:
"The credibility of a witness may be attacked by any party, including the party calling the witness." TEX. R. CRIM. EVID. 607. This rule became effective March 1, 1998. This case was tried after the effective date.
Goodman v. State, 665 S.W.2d 788 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984), stated that before an attorney or party is allowed to impeach his own witness, he must establish the proper predicate by showing not only that the testimony has surprised, but also that it is injurious to his cause. Id. at 791.
However the Hughes Court specifically mentioned Goodman and stated that Rule 607 dispensed with the surprise-and-injury exception to the "voucher" rule. Hughes, 4 S.W.3d at 5.