|Brian "Kato" Kaelin testifies at the trial of O.J. Simpson |
(People v. Simpson). Kaelin was famously qualified as
a "hostile witness" by prosecutor Marcia Clark because of
his rambling, incoherent responses to questions.
You will work with a small group to put together 35-40 direct examination questions and answers for your assigned witness.
This assignment is a 50 point project grade, and will be assessed using this rubric. You will be assessed as a group, but will also receive an individual grade based on my observation of your contributions to the group.
We will start by viewing a video from the University of South Carolina showing some examples of direct examinations done by their mock trial team.
While we watch the video together, comment on this post with the following information:
- How do the attorneys structure their questions?
- Which is the best witness? Why?
When we finish with the video, you will have the remainder of the period to work on your direct examination questions.
Before you write your questions and answers, respond to the following at the top of your page:
- Why should we call this witness?
- What theory is your side (petitioner or respondent) trying to develop?
- What is your theme (remember -- the tag-line)? You won't include it in your questioning, but every question should work toward the development of this theme.
- What is already in evidence when your witness is called to the stand? What questions can he/she expect to face based on prior testimony?
Ultimately, you will want to have one document complete with questions and answers. Each question should be followed immediately by its answer. Use the following hints to ensure your success:
- Ensure that you have no spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Ask the questions in a logical order.
- When appropriate, refresh your witness' recollection by referring back to prior testimony, the dates of different events, and other items already in evidence.
- Write complete answers for your witness. We will use the answers you write in the actual trial.
- Make sure that your answers are in character. It is very important that our witnesses act like the people they are portraying.
- Include specific references to the content of the witness affidavits. You cannot have the witness say anything (with very few exceptions) that is not discussed in the affidavit.