What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

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Boyd Baumgartner
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Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 11:03 am

What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Boyd Baumgartner »

Question of the day: what's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

From a co-worker: Isn't it true that Abraham Lincoln founded the NAS? (that just happened this week, fyi)

What about you?
Alan C
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Location: King County SO, Seattle

Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Alan C »

I work in tenprints, but in one case the defense attorney started asking me some questions about how likely it is to get identifiable latents off different surfaces. Since there were also latents in the case (though I wasn't testifying on them) the judge allowed it. "How about the outside of a car?" "Possibly." "How about the dashboard?" "Possibly." This went on until she said "How about a furry steering wheel cover?" Then the judge decided this was a waste of time and cut her off.
Bill Schade
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Bill Schade »

"Back in the day" a typo in the final report on a vehicle burglary resulted in a "difficult" question

Subject of examination referenced a buick sedan, results of comparison referenced identification of latents on a Chevy

Defense question "What magic powder did you use to change a Buick into a Chevy" (mic drop)
4n6Dave
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by 4n6Dave »

I have been asked when my last eye exam was.

The other one was in regard to a victim's car with quite a few people identified on it. The defense asked it that many people identified on a car was typical of a drug car.
SConner
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by SConner »

I still remember the prosecutor telling me in a pretrial meeting that we weren't going to mention or talk about some drug items I'd processed because they were only dealing with the weapons' charges. While on the stand after discussing the processing of the weapons, he proceeds to ask me, did you process any other items or do any other work in the case? I'm sure he was just on autopilot and thinking I ask that of all witnesses as a last question, but I think I just stared at him for a few seconds before he withdrew the question.
Steve Everist
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Steve Everist »

4n6Dave wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 12:45 pm I have been asked when my last eye exam was.
Basically the same. The questions was, "I see you're wearing glasses, how long has it been since your last eye exam?"

It turns out I had been to the eye doctor the previous week.

I think this was a case where multiple checks had been cashed by the same person, and the comparison was inked prints taken by the bank to known prints.
Steve E.
Ernie Hamm
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Ernie Hamm »

I was once called to court to support another’s examiner’s opinion of origin based on a comparative examination between a questioned mark and a known standard involving an ear print. Following my initial qualifying questioning by the prosecution, the defense begin his presentation using a familiar theme of being able to distinguish individuals by body features by asking me, “Mr. Hamm, what do you know about twins?”.

I replied, “I am married to a twin” and after the laughter from spectators and some members of the court subsided, the attorney made a statement about that being a dumb question to start his argument.

The attorney would later be informed that if he used the same question with the next witness, which he did not, that reply would have been, “I have twin sons”.
Pat A. Wertheim
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Pat A. Wertheim »

After ten years of involvement in the McKie case and fifteen trips to Scotland for investigations and testimony at various levels, I was testifying in Arizona when a defense attorney was going to attempt to show that I do not keep up with current affairs. He was a new attorney and one I had never met before. But he had not done his homework on me and committed the ultimate error -- he asked a question without knowing the answer. "There's quite a controversial fingerprint case going on in England right now, isn't there?" I replied, "Yes." Then he asked an open ended question: "Would you tell the jury about it?"

So I turned to face the jury and cut the defense attorney out of my line of sight and gave them a very detailed 20-minute lesson on the murder of Marion Ross, the crime scene processing, the fingerprint that led to the arrest of David Asbury, and the erroneous fingerprint identification of Shirley McKie. Out of the corner of my eye on the left, I could see the defense attorney gesticulating to try and stop me, but I ignored him and ran on with my narrative answer. Out of the corner of my right eye, I could see the judge (who I knew quite well) lean back in his chair smiling as he enjoyed watching the defense attorney's mounting panic, and I held the jury's rapt attention while I gave them a good story about the case. When I finished, I turned back to the defense attorney who said dejectedly, "No further questions."

Later that afternoon, I looked up the attorney's phone number and called him. I asked, "When you asked me about the McKie case, did you know I was the lead defense expert in that case?" He replied, "No, but we put on a hell of a show for the jury, didn't we?"
Pat A. Wertheim
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Shane Turnidge
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Location: Canada

Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by Shane Turnidge »

"I've heard there's a machine that can take a fingerprint from one place and put it in another." :lol:
You're only as good as your last Ident.
vickinista
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Re: What's the most odd thing you've been asked on the stand?

Post by vickinista »

One was not a question, but a statement from the defendant who was representing himself:
Defendant: I wasn't expecting you to be black.
Me: (trying hard to keep a straight face)

The other one is from a rather attention seeking ADA.
Prosecutor: Let us say I swipe left on my phone while on Tinder, would you expect me to leave behind a good fingerprint?
Me: (trying hard to keep a straight face again) Smooth surfaces are great, it depends on how hard you swiped.
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