Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Law and The Art of Communication

I try to be clear when I talk to the judge, the jury, and to witnesses, as do my colleagues in the defense bar. But clarity comes in different forms. Sometimes it comes with the answer as I learned in a hearing recently:

Prosecutor: Were you smoking dope that night?
Witness: What was that?
Prosecutor: Were you smoking dope that night?
Witness [outraged]: No, I wasn't smoking dope. [Pause.] I was smoking weed.

... and sometimes, it comes with the question....

Defense Atty: What is your relationship to the defendant?
(Female) Witness: Boyfriend.
Defense Atty: Okay.
Witness: Girlfriend.
Defense Atty: And do you-all have children together?
Witness: Yes, ma'am, three or four.
Defense Atty: Okay. Three or four?
Witness: Four.

Glad we got that sorted out. Finally.

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