Thursday, August 31, 2006
The discussion around my law firm's cooler this morning was the disappointing TV show Justice that aired last night. Now, I normally love Jerry Bruckheimer, but the blatant trial errors now makes me wonder how loose a hand his company's taken with other shows/movies. He knows adventure but this...
I'm only a workers' compensation insurance defense attorney, but it's basic Direct Examination 101 that you don't get to lead your own expert witness. The fact that the Justice defense team did just that was totally ridiculous...and no objection from the D.A.? Come on! About the only time you get to lead your own witness is he has unexpectedly turned hostile. Then you need to get a ruling from the judge before you leap gleefully into leading the witness. What's a leading question? One that requires only a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Leading question: You examine the dead body, correct? The answer can be only 'yes', 'no'...or God forbid, 'I don't know'. Instead of the TV attorney telling the expert what his findings were...the proper question should have been, "What are your findings?" An open-ended question allowing the witness to discuss his conclusions. Now if you've properly prepared your witness, the witness should know generally how to answer the question asked...what you want him/her to cover.
I was so hopeful about this show, but I won't watch it again. I'm going to try out the James Wood show coming out --Sharks-- because I love his work, but I'm not holding out much hope that it will be an improvement over Justice. Carol