Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Priceless moment in trial

As I mentioned, I'm back in trial this week. We will wrap it up today with closing arguments (evidence already presented) and I wanted to share a moment of levity we all enjoyed yesterday.

A witness was testifying, I'll call her Mary, about what happened leading up to the alleged assault. She testified that she was in a bedroom talking to the defendant when the victim and his son came in. The defendant got up to leave and Mary handed him his shirt.

I handled the cross-examination of this witness (below is a paraphrase, of course):

Me: "So, Mary, you said you handed him his shirt as he left the room."
Mary: "Yes."
Me: "Why was he shirtless?"
Mary; "What?"
Me: "Why was the defendant not wearing a shirt in the bedroom?"
Mary (indignant): "How would I know? Why not? Why anything? Why aren't you wearing any underwear?"

I was, for once, momentarily speechless, though the rest of the courtroom dissolved into laughter (including the defendant).

I then, as gracefully as I could, objected (with tongue in cheek) to her unfounded assumption.

When she finished testifying she left the stand and walked past me towards the door. As she passed by, and as the defense lawyer was calling his next witness, I whispered to her: "Just for the record, I am." She left the courtroom laughing.


  1. Seems like the objection should have been "no foundation".

  2. haha, that's great. and also a great example of what happens when you ask a non-leading question on cross!


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