October 2010

"Cross Exam of Prosecution Witnesses"

Cross-examination is the Defense Attorney’s primary tool in rooting out faulty testimony
in Rhode Island DUI and DWI cases. Often times, a Rhode Island Drunk Driving investigation
can only be held invalid by way of the concise and direct questions of the Defense Lawyer.
Preparation by the Rhode Island defense attorney for the cross-examination of prosecution
witnesses must take into account the probable testimony of such witnesses as policemen, experts,
and laymen. A Rhode Island Defense Lawyer should not overlook the possibility that the
bartender serving the defendant prior to his arrest might be a witness for the prosecution.

Counsel should note, during direct examination of prosecution witnesses, all primary
facts observed on which each witness bases his conclusion of intoxication. He can then
separately challenge the validity of each of these facts as establishing intoxication. However,
counsel should ignore facts testified to that he is unable to challenge, since cross-examination as
to these facts would simply emphasize the strength of the prosecution case to the jury. Instead,
counsel should question the witness whether separate primary facts on which he based his
opinion of intoxication might have been attributable to a cause other than intoxication.

Defense counsel should preliminarily ask the policeman to define intoxication. If a proper
definition is given, no harm is done since the jury figures that the witness was supposed to
know it. If an improper one is given, on the other hand, the fact can be very effectively used in
arguments to the jury.