An alibi means that a defendant was at a place at the time of an offense where he or she could not have participated in the offense. Although an alibi defense is not an affirmative defense, it does involve the negation of an element of the prosecution’s case against a defendant. The defendant does not have the burden of proving his or her alibi. The prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant committed the offense. The alibi defense contradicts the allegations of an indictment or an information against the defendant and casts doubt about whether the prosecution has met its burden of proof.
Some courts have held that a defendant is entitled to a jury instruction on an alibi defense when the defendant presents evidence that he or she was at a place at the time of an offense that made it impossible for him or her to commit the offense. Other courts have held that jury instructions on the presumption of the innocence of the defendant and on the prosecution’s burden to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt encompass the alibi defense and that the defendant is not entitled to a separate jury instruction on the alibi defense.
If a defendant produces evidence of an alibi, a jury is entitled to reject the defendant’s alibi evidence and to find the defendant guilty of an offense. Even if the prosecution fails to rebut the defendant’s alibi evidence, the jury is not required to find the defendant’s alibi evidence credible or to find the defendant not guilty of the offense. The jury is entitled to weigh the credibility of the defendant’s alibi evidence.
If a defendant’s alibi evidence raises the issue of a perpetrator’s identity, the prosecution may introduce extraneous evidence that connects the defendant with an offense in order to negate the defendant’s alibi evidence. However, the extraneous evidence must connect the defendant with the alleged offense in order to be admissible.
Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.