What Questions Do Defense Attorneys Ask Witnesses? Unveiling The Art Of Defense

Defense attorneys are lawyers who represent people accused of crimes. They have a duty to investigate their clients’ cases and prepare a defense strategy.

One of the ways they do this is by interviewing witnesses, both their own and the prosecution’s.

Witnesses are people who have some knowledge or information about the case, such as the victim, the police officer, or an expert.

Defense attorneys ask witnesses questions to elicit favorable testimony, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, or find new leads.

Cross Examination Techniques With Example Cross-Examinations Michael Waddington, Attorney at Law Cross Examination Techniques With ...
Cross Examination Techniques With Example Cross-Examinations
Michael Waddington, Attorney at Law
Cross Examination Techniques With witness | Champion law

 

Direct Examination

Direct examination is when the defense attorney questions their own witnesses.

The purpose of direct examination is to present the defense’s version of the facts and to support the defendant’s innocence.

Defense attorneys will often ask short, open-ended questions that allow the witness to tell their story in their own words.

For example, a defense attorney might ask a witness:

1.Can you describe the defendant’s demeanor on the day of the incident?
2.Did the defendant seem intoxicated or under the influence of drugs?
3.What was the defendant wearing at the time?
4.Did the defendant say anything to you before or after the incident?
5.What is your relationship to the defendant?
6.Do you have any reason to lie or be biased against the defendant?

Cross-Examination

Cross-examination is when the defense attorney questions the prosecution’s witnesses.

The purpose of cross-examination is to undermine the prosecution’s case and to expose any weaknesses, inconsistencies, or lies in the witness’s testimony.

Defense attorneys will often ask more pointed and direct questions that suggest the answer they want to hear.

For example, a defense attorney might ask a witness:

1.How long ago did the incident occur?
2.Were you under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time?
3.What was your exact location when you saw the incident?
4.How many people were there?5. Did you get a good look at the defendant?

These questions are called leading questions, and they are generally not allowed on direct examination, but they are allowed on cross-examination.

If a witness answers differently from what they said before, the defense attorney can use their previous statement to impeach them, which means to show that they are not credible.

Hypothetical Questions

Another type of question that defense attorneys ask is a hypothetical question.

A hypothetical question is a question that is not based on anything that actually happened, but is based on what could have happened.

For example, a defense attorney might ask a witness:

1.If the victim had hit you first, would you have hit back?
2.If you had seen someone else with a gun, would you have called the police?
3.If you had known that the defendant was innocent, would you have testified differently?

Hypothetical questions are used to test the witness’s logic, consistency, or bias.

They can also be used to introduce alternative scenarios or explanations for what happened.

what questions do prosecutors ask witnesses

Prosecutors are lawyers who represent the state or the government in criminal cases.

They have a duty to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

One of the ways they do this is by questioning witnesses, both their own and the defense’s.

Witnesses are people who have some knowledge or information about the case, such as the victim, the police officer, or an expert.

Prosecutors ask witnesses questions to elicit unfavorable testimony, support the prosecution’s evidence, or find contradictions.

READ ALSO : Can the Victim Contact the Defense Attorney? A Guide For Crime Victims

Direct Examination

Direct examination is when the prosecutor questions their own witnesses.

An image of a public prosecutor
Public Prosecutor [PHOTO COURTESY OF LEGA MASTERS]
The purpose of direct examination is to present the prosecution’s version of the facts and to establish the defendant’s guilt.

Prosecutors will often ask short, open-ended questions that allow the witness to tell their story in their own words.

For example, a prosecutor might ask a witness:

1.Can you describe what you saw on the day of the incident?

2.How did you know the defendant?
3.What did the defendant do or say to you or to anyone else?
4.How did you feel or react to the defendant’s actions?
5.What is your occupation or expertise?

6.Do you have any reason to lie or be biased for or against the defendant?

Cross-Examination

Cross-examination is when the prosecutor questions the defense’s witnesses.

Defense Attorneys Ask Witnesses .
Defense Attorneys Ask Witness questions | MURRAY

The purpose of cross-examination is to undermine the defense’s case and to expose any weaknesses, inconsistencies, or lies in the witness’s testimony.

Prosecutors will often ask more pointed and direct questions that suggest the answer they want to hear.

For example, a prosecutor might ask a witness:

1.Isn’t it true that you have a criminal record?
2.Weren’t you paid or promised something by the defendant or his lawyer?
3.How can you be sure of what you saw or heard?
4.How many times have you changed your story?
5.Are you aware of any evidence that contradicts your testimony?

These questions are called leading questions, and they are generally not allowed on direct examination, but they are allowed on cross-examination.

If a witness answers differently from what they said before, the prosecutor can use their previous statement to impeach them, which means to show that they are not credible.

Hypothetical Questions

Another type of question that prosecutors ask is a hypothetical question.

A hypothetical question is a question that is not based on anything that actually happened, but is based on what could have happened.

For example, a prosecutor might ask a witness:

1.If you had seen the defendant with a weapon, would you have reported it?

2.If you had been in the victim’s position, would you have consented to the defendant’s advances?
3.If you had known that the defendant was guilty, would you have testified differently?

Conclusion

Defense attorneys ask witnesses questions for different reasons and in different ways depending on whether they are conducting direct examination or cross-examination.

They also use different types of questions, such as open-ended, leading, or hypothetical questions.

By asking questions, defense attorneys can gather evidence, challenge evidence, or create doubt in the jury’s mind.

 

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