And Sometimes the Court Views the Government’s Witness the Same Way You Do

by Jamison Koehler on November 12, 2015

THE COURT: Okay. Now, see, we’re running into a little bit of a problem here.

THE WITNESS: Okay.

THE COURT: This is a trial in an American courtroom.

THE WITNESS: Okay.

THE COURT: And you have sworn to tell the truth and can go to prison if you don’t, okay? So within the last 30 seconds, you have told me two very different things. You have told me that she shoved him in the chest and that –

THE WITNESS: Okay, none of the –

THE COURT: Hold on, I’m speaking. You twice showed me with your hands pushing forward in a shoving motion that that’s what she had done. Now, you’re telling me that it may not be that she did that at all but something different, right?

THE WITNESS: Okay, I am not –

THE COURT: I instruct you to tell us in this trial the truth and what it is that you remember. Don’t tell us things that you don’t remember. Okay? You got it?

THE WITNESS: (No audible response.)

THE COURT: What’s the trouble?

THE WITNESS: The trouble’s the way that you’re addressing me.

THE COURT: Sir, I am instructing you that you’re under oath and you are to tell us what you remember, and that is my instruction to you. I now ask you to tell us did she push the officer with her hands on his body as you demonstrated?

THE WITNESS: Whether it was like this or whether I remember it being like that, I don’t know.

THE COURT: But she struck him?

THE WITNESS: Whether she struck him or moved like that, I don’t know.

One Comment on “And Sometimes the Court Views the Government’s Witness the Same Way You Do

  1. How would you react if a judge questioned a defense witness like that (including the implicit threat of prison)?

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