Pinning Down An Elusive Cop On Cross-Examination

by Jamison Koehler on June 24, 2014

Q:            You testified on direct that the defendant approached you.

A:            Define when you say approach.

Q:            I am sorry?

A:            Define what you mean when you say approach.

Q:            Officer.  Unless I am mistaken, it was you who used the word approach.  On direct.  Am I wrong about that?

A:            No.  No, I guess, I guess I used the word.

Q:            You used the word yourself, right?

A:            Yes.

Q:            And when you used that word on direct, exactly what did you mean when you used it?

A:            I don’t know.  I guess it used it to mean that he came toward me —

Q:            — Great.  Thank you.  When you testified on direct that the defendant approached you, when he came toward you . . .

Q:            Officer, I assume there was a 911 call.

A:            Yes, there was.

Q:            You didn’t hear it.

A:            No, I didn’t.

Q:            Do you know what time the 911 call came in?

A:            I do not know.

Q:            What time did the lookout call come?

A:            I have no idea, sir.  I can’t recall.

Q:            Officer.  You were very precise on direct on the timeframes for the two incidents.  And now you are testifying that you have no idea on a timeframe for either the 911 call or the lookout?

A:            I’m giving approximate timeframes for the incidents.  You’re asking me for an exact time.  I don’t know that, sir.

Q:            You don’t know that?

A:            No, sir.

Q:            How about, well, if not an exact time, then how about a general time?

A:            For?

Q:            For?  Well, let’s start with the 911 call.

A:            I don’t know that.

Q:            How about for the lookout?

A:            The initial lookout came out with the call.  I don’t know what time that was that it came out, though.

Q:            Well, let’s try it this way then.  When the 911 call came, was that in the morning or was that in the afternoon?

PROSECUTOR:  Objection, your Honor, the witness has answered that he doesn’t know the specific time.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Now I am asking for a general time.

THE WITNESS: Okay, a general –

THE COURT: If he can provide a general time he may do so.

THE WITNESS: A general time for what, sir?

Q:            For when the 911 call came.

THE COURT: If you, if you know.

A:            It was in the morning.

Q:            In the morning?

A:            Yes.

Q:            Thank you.  Was it before 11:00 am?

A:            Yes, sir.

Q:            Was it after 10:00 am?

A:            Yes, sir.  Somewhere in the area of 10:00 to 10:10 am.

Q:            Thank you . . .

4 Comments on “Pinning Down An Elusive Cop On Cross-Examination

  1. I love it when you post these things. Have you thought about doing these as dramatic readings on YouTube? Comedy gold, I tell you.

  2. Hello Mark!

    If I tried to make these things up, I don’t think anyone would believe it. It is why, I think, you sometimes have to tone things down for the sake of art.

  3. Some of the bests closings are when a cop easily answers every question the prosecutor asks, but it’s “I don’t know” for everything from us.

  4. Matt:

    You apparently are better at weaving that together for use in closing than I am. I never seem to get much traction with it.

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