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Monday, May 13, 2019

How Not to Cross-Examine a Forensic Pathologist

Attorney: Now, doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until
                the next morning?
Witness: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

Attorney: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
Witness: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

Attorney: Do you recall what time that you examined the body?
Witness: The autopsy started at 8:30 PM.
Attorney: And Mr. Denton was dead at that time?
Witness: If not, he was by the time I finished.

Attorney: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Witness: No.
Attorney: Did you check for breathing?
Witness: No.
Attorney: Did you check for blood pressure?
Witness: No.
Attorney: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
Witness: No.
Attorney: How can you be so sure, doctor?
Witness: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Attorney: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
Witness: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and is practicing law.

Michelle Boren, Disorder in the American Courts, 2014 

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