Legal-Ease: The rules in asking questions of witnesses

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Although TV and the Internet portray lawyers in the courtroom as either geniuses or bumbling idiots, most of the time questioning a witness is a more mundane middle ground. Typically, one attorney questions a witness they believe will help their case—this is “direct examination.” Then, the other lawyer questions the witness during “cross examination.”

Attorneys portrayed on television always ask brilliant questions of witnesses who inevitably paint themselves into corners every time they speak. According to TV, every witness is ready to break down and admit to crimes or bad behavior as soon as that witness is asked some particularly cunning question.

Asking questions of witnesses is usually less dramatic in real life. The purpose of asking witnesses questions is to learn what facts have taken place. Witness testimony is provided under oath, which means that witnesses have to tell the truth, as best they remember it.

Read Lee’s full article on questioning witnesses in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: The rules in asking questions of witnesses

Source:, Legal-Ease: The rules in asking questions of witnesses by Lee R. Schroeder, November 8, 2014

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