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Knowing the facts

2006-07-08 11:10

  The following is a true story, and this situation supposedly occurred in a real courtroom.

  At a trial, an attorney was putting witnesses through an exacting cross-examination, and was taking great delight into forcing witnesses to admit that they did not remember every single detail of an automobile accident. While the lawyer knew that no witness has a perfect memory, he had honed a skill in exploiting minor inconsistencies and lapses of memory in order to challenge the credibility of honest witnesses. After a series of scathing cross-examinations, he was looking forward to his examination of yet another witness.

  “Did you actually see the accident?” he asked.

  The witness responded with a polite, “Yes, sir.”

  “How far away were you when the accident happened?”

  “I was Thirty-four feet, seven and three quarters inches away from the point of collision.”

  “Thirty-four feet, seven and three quarter inches?” the lawyer asked, sarcastically, “Do you expect us to believe that your memory is so good, and your sense of distance is so precise, that months after the accident you can come into court and give that type of detail?”

  The witness was unphased. “Sir, I had a hunch that some obnoxious, know-it-all lawyer would ask me the distance, and would try to make it seem like I was lying if I could not give an exact answer. So I got a tape measure, and measured out the exact distance.

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