[Recently reported in the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Journal, the following are questions actually asked of witnesses by attorneys during trials and, in some cases, the responses given by insightful witnesses…]
1. Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Did you check for blood pressure?
Did you check for breathing?
So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
How can you be so sure, Doctor?
Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.
2. You were not shot in the fracas?
No, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.
3. Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
4. You were there until the time you left, is that true?
5. I show you Exhibit 3 and ask you if you recognize that picture.
Were you present when that picture was taken?
6. Was that the same nose you broke as a child?
7. Now, Doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning?
8. What happened then?
He told me, “I have to kill you because you can identify me.”
Did he kill you?
9. Was it you or your brother that was killed in the war?
10. The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
11. Were you alone or by yourself?
12. What is the meaning of sperm being present?
It indicates intercourse.
That is the only kind I know.
13. Can you describe the individual?
He was about medium height and had a beard.
Was this a male or female?
14. How long have you been a French Canadian?
15. How far apart were the vehicles at the time of collision?
16. Mr. Clark, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn’t you?
I went to Europe, sir.
And did you take your new wife?
17. Do you have any children or anything of that kind?
18. Were you present in court this morning when you were sworn in?
19. Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
And by whose death was it terminated?
20. Do you know how far pregnant you are now?
I’ll be three months on November 8.
Apparently, then, the date of conception was August 8?
What were you doing at that time?
21. Mrs. Jones, do you believe you are emotionally stable?
I used to be.
How many times have you committed suicide?
22. So you were gone until you returned?
23. She had three children, right?
How many were boys?
Were there girls?
24. You don’t know what it was, and you didn’t know what it looked like, but can you describe it?
25. You say that the stairs went down to the basement?
And these stairs, did they go up also?
26. Lawyer: What device do you have in your laboratory to test alcohol content?
I have a dual column gas chromatograph, Hewlett-Packard 5710A with flame ionization detectors.
Judge: Can you get that on mag wheels?
Only on the floor models.
27. Have you lived in this town all your life?
28. All your responses must be oral, ok? What school did you go to?
29. Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
Yes, I have been since early childhood.
30. Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
31. Do you recall approximately the time that you examined the body of Mr. Dennington?
It was in the evening. The autopsy started about 8:30 p.m.
And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time, is that correct?
No. He was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy!
Justice Is Blind
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