Good question!

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo
02-Apr-2008

During cross-examination, we sometimes let go of a potentially fertile area of inquiry just because we are met with an objection and didn't know how to overcome it by re-phrasing our question properly.

For instance, consider this question: "what did the accused mean when he said `I will take care of it?'"

"Incompetent to testify". "The fact sought by the question is not within the personal knowledge of the witness". The sarcastic "the question calls for a conclusion and the witness was not qualified as an expert to read minds." These will be some of the objections this question will encounter.

And, the objection will probably be sustained too, mainly because the question asks the witness for a fact or facts that are not within his personal knowledge.

Don't give up just yet. If you think you are on to something and the answer may be a worthwhile try, take a different approach, one that would elicit an answer that is within the witness's personal knowledge. Try this: "what was your understanding of what the accused meant when he told you 'I'll take care of it'?" This should not be hearsay because the understanding of the witness is certainly within his knowledge.

Creativity is second only to practice in the game of litigation.