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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23194
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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When I question witnesses can I ask an assumed question. Lets

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When I question witnesses can I ask an assumed question. Let's say robbed a store. Can I ask, "Why did you walk down aisle 12 when you were in the store." Let's say it hasn't been proven as fact yet. Can I just do that?

You can but you would have to have a factual basis for askiing it in case the other side objects. In any case, if you're cross examining a witness it's a good idea not to ask any question of him that you don't already know the answer to. Sometimes trying to trap a witness up like this gets you nowhere.

If he says, "I never walked down aisle 12," and you don't have a factual basis that you can establish to show, through him or someone else that he DID walk down aisle 12, where do you go with that.? His denial would stand.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, thank you I appreciate your help. I think I'm starting to understand why.


So, let's say I have a witness that says they saw them walk down aisle 12. Is that enough?


Also, makes me wonder, do I have to question the witness that saw them walk down aisle 12 first? I have a bunch of witnesses to question so that would get kind of messy if I had to do that.


For some questions I'd have to call Witness A first other questions I would have to call Witness B first. You know what I mean?


Shoot, do you know of any online or inexpensive resources for a pro se person to do criminal questioning?


Basically, my situation is I've got a Crime Victim hearing and I've got to get people to talk. They permanently disabled me where I will be in pain the rest of my life. I see on your link that you are quite educated in criminal law. The testimony will be crucial and there are other witnesses who will try to cover up for them. That leaves me in a situation where I've got to squeeze blood out of a penny, without a deposition because I couldn't afford one.

Hello Dan,

Sorry for the delay. I have only just started to answer questions this morning.

If you are putting on a case, you can call your own witnesses in the order you choose once the state rests its case. If you are not putting on a separate case, the prosecutor determines the order that he or she will call his witnesses, and you are stuck with that.

If I can give you two hints when you're acting as your own lawyer and cross examining, the first one is to make sure you know the answer to whatever question you are asking. Surprises on the stand are not something you will want. The second -- and this is an art -- is to know when to stop a line of inquiry. It is frequently better not to ask that last question than it is to ask it and get an answer that isn't what you want.

Google the name of your state with guide to pro se criminal defense. That should get you to some handbooks that will give you the preliminaries. Here's a site that may be useful to you too if you have to do any quick research. (See link)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, thank you very much. I still am missing something though...


I can ask an assumed question IF I have a factual basis to back it up.-Check.


CAN that factual basis come in later testimony or does it already have to be established?

Hi Dan,

You can ask a question of the state's evidence and if the court objects because it's not in evidence tell the judge that you can establish the connection when you call your witnesses.

If there's no objection to the question but the witness denies what you're asking, you can put on your witness when it's your turn to impeach the statement made by the earlier witness.
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