Altered States in the Courtroom

Three examples of altered states of consciousness in the courtroom:

  1. On cross-examination, a lawyer gets a federal agent into what Chicago federal defender cross-examination teacher Terry MacCarthy calls “Yes Mode,” nodding and saying “yes” to each question. When the lawyer gets to the difficult questions, the witness continues truthfully saying “yes” even though he would rather deny, argue, or quibble.
  2. On direct examination, a lawyer takes his client’s full attention back to the night of the killing. The client, describing the story in the present tense, steps down from the witness stand and shows the jury how the complainant (the dead guy) assaulted him, and how he reacted. Reenacting the events, he remembers every sensory detail, and the story comes to life in the jury’s minds.
  3. A trial starts at 9 a.m. At noon, the judge announces a lunch break and the lawyer is surprised — he had been so attentive to the trial that he had not noticed the time passing.

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About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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