As an expert witness, I must be able to take the stand in court, qualify myself as an expert in forensic analysis, and then present my findings on a particular case. It sounds so easy right??? not. The direct examination is… because I know all the questions and all of the answers to all of said questions before I get out there. The cross examination on the other hand sucks balls… literally. I would rather give a BJ then go up against the defense.
Mind you I’m still in practice so all of the exercises I explain are just like a mock trial. I was contacted by a 3rd year law student to see if I would be available to be his expert witness in an exercise they were doing for one of his classes. I of course told him yes and set the time and date. The case was only about 25 pages long but of course the evidence that was collected at “said” scene wasn’t very good so that the defense attorney’s (other students in the class) would also have a case when they came up to ask questions.
We went through everything, mapped it out. I gave him some pointers since he knows little to nothing about fingerprint examination. We set up the game plan together. I went to the law school and we did a practice run then we headed down to their courtroom to do the exercise. It wasn’t bad. There were only a few people in the room, not even a full jury.
I always get nervous but my inner personality tends to break free almost immediately so you wouldn’t know. I took the stand and the dance begin. I like to think of the interaction between the lawyers, judge, jury, and witnesses as a dance because essentially that’s what it is. There’s all this legal rigormarole that you have to go through and some things could be so simple, but of course are not.
I fell into place easily, back straight, legs tucked behind me, hands resting on my side. (All the pointers they told us about in my testimony class.) I looked at the jury when I was speaking, I went though everything slowly and what I hoped appeared at ease. The direct exam went great.
Then the cross began. The guy that got up there to perform the cross exam started asking me questions I didn’t have answers to. Of course, had I actually been on the case and done the things I said I did I would have known but as it were, I crammed for all of the qualifications and things and did not go through the actual case work before the exercise. He ripped me apart slightly, but I know that had I known the answers to the questions he would have been done for. Overall being an expert witness is nerve racking but its definately doable.
Confessions of a Writer<3