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Short “to the Point” Direct Examination

Criminal defense attorneys are taught to use short and concise questions when examining witnesses whose testimony cast doubt as to his or her guilt. Questioning that is “to the point” avoids the inadvertent asking of leading questions, which are prohibited by the Florida rules of evidence where the defending lawyer is not laying a required foundation with respect to admissibility.

Attention Span and Retention of Criminal Jurors

Believe it or not, most decisions are made by our “unconscious brain” claims attorney Drew Atria. Research suggests that of the 40 million bits of information received, the average person is only aware of a mere 40 bits.

Watch the video cast about juror retention span

“When examining defense witnesses or even choosing jurors to sit on your criminal trial, the defending lawyer should always ask questions in small bite sized chunks” claims Atria. This is corroborated by years of research that has continuously established that our attention span rarely exceeds 20 seconds when it comes to basic issues. Consequently, where appropriate, you will find that most criminal defense attorneys tried to elicit answers from their witnesses that fall within this time parameter on direct examination.

Short Questions Keep the Defense Witness, Jurors and Criminal Lawyer on Track

During direct examination, the criminal attorney charged with defending the accused will always focus on one fact at a time. Doing so keeps his or her witnesses focused on the chronological order of events in addition to helping them become more comfortable in their testimony as it progresses. According to criminal defense lawyer William R. Moore, the more calm and confident witness appears the more credible their testimony comes across to the triers of fact.

“It is paramount that defense witnesses do not become confused by complex or multi-faceted questions. The confused witness becomes less effective when their anxiety increases which results in the jurors being equally confused as well as unsure as to the reliability of the evidence sought to be elicited by the defense.

information about this article may be obtained directly by contacting criminal defense attorney William R. Moore (954) 523-5333.

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