So, the question presented is how will the attorney ask questions in my trial? Understanding the question can clear up a lot of confusion when preparing for a trial. In general, an attorney will not be able to just fire off questions during trial any way he or she sees fit. There is a method to the questioning. If the questions are not asked in the proper way, there might be an objection for the other side.
Remember, if you have specific questions about your upcoming trial talk with your attorney about those questions. The information that I am providing in this educational article and supporting video is general in nature and specific questions about your facts and trial prep need to be directed to your attorney.
HOW WILL THE ATTORNEY ASK QUESTIONS IN MY TRIAL?
When you bring a civil claim, and your attorney calls you to the stand as a witness, your examination is called a direct examination. During your direct examination, the questions that your attorney will ask you will be non-leading or open-ended questions. This is important to understand.
For example, after a foundation has been set, in a birth injury case, the mother may be called to testify about some background information. The questioning might go something like this:
- Attorney: “Do you have any children?”
- Witness: Yes
- Attorney: “How many children do you have?”
- Witness: “I have 2 children.”
Can you see how the questions by the attorney are not leading the witness? They are open ended questions and they allow for the witness to be able to give the answer and guide the attorney. This is contrary to the way questions are asked on cross examination.
WHAT IS CROSS EXAMINATION?
As mentioned above, the focus of the direct examination is to ask questions in a non-leading way. The questions are open-ended. With that said, on cross examination, the focus of the questioning is to lead the witness to the pre-determined answer. Using the example above as a guide, I will explain how the questions can be turned around to lead the witness. Look at the following below:
- Attorney: “You have 2 children, correct?”
- Witness: Yes
With the leading question, the answer is already embedded in the questions and it leaves very little wiggle room for the witness with their answer. The attorney is the one leading the witness to the answer and not vice versa. For an attorney to be able to ask a leading question, he or she must already have a good idea as to the answer the witness will give in response to the question.
TO WRAP IT ALL UP…
To conclude this article, there are certain ways in which an attorney must ask questions during trial. As the old saying goes, in this context, sometimes it is not a good idea to ask a question that you may not know the answer to when handling leading questions.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP