During punishment today, the defendant's sister was testifying. I logged into the DPS website and was looking up the witness's criminal history while defense counsel was doing direct. The witness admitted to some of the convictions on her criminal history, but conveniently left out several felonies.
So on cross, I said, "Ms. ---, you weren't entirely truthful with this jury about your criminal history, were you?"
Defense counsel jumped up, objecting to "matters outside the record" which was overruled. Then he pointed at my counsel table and said, "Your Honor, I'd like the record to reflect that the District Attorney is LOOKING AT SOMETHING on her computer screen while she's asking questions of the witness."
The judge said, "Well, yes, I guess the record will reflect that the District Attorney has her computer out and she appears to be looking at something on it."
Apparently the attorney is unfamiliar with computer-assisted (aided) questioning. Would have been even more fun if the judge had required a formal bill of exception. Seems this attorney is indeed convinced that you never know what you will get until (unless) you ask.
I have had a defense attorney move for a directed verdict after my first witness in a jury trial. I didn't really know how to respond except, "Well, your Honor, uh, I have a few more witnesses to call before the State rests...." The Judge was gracious enough to allow me this opportunity. I wanted to tell the defense attorney, "The One Witness Rule lets me prove my case with one witness, not forces me..."
Posts: 66 | Location: Travis County, TX, USA | Registered: August 04, 2008
All I can say is, if the defense attorneys are making these wacky objections and motions it either means (1) the attorney is an idiot or (2) we're doing such a good job on our cases that they are desperate to try anything. (That one is my personal favorite.)
Make an objection about the prejudicial effect outweighing the probative value in front of a jury without riveting the jury's attention to the evidence? Unless you have a very inexperienced or reckless prosecutor, the objection is seldom successful. I think the only time I have seen a deft defense counsel in action on the subject is to say: "Objection, Rule 403". Of course, the theatrical effect (for the client's benefit) is largely lost.........
Posts: 218 | Location: The Border | Registered: April 08, 2011
During termination trial, Parent was on the stand--being difficult and telling me that she didn't understand my questions (to just about every question I asked after having her state her name and the name of her child). So, trying to figure out which word she didn't understand in the latest question, I asked, "Do you know what 'unrealistic' means?" Parent's attorney jumped up and loudly said, "Objection! Hearsay!" Everyone in the courtroom, including the jury stared open mouthed at him. Judge overruled--and she did NOT know what 'unrealistic' meant.
Posts: 108 | Location: Wichita Falls, TX | Registered: February 09, 2004