Hi, this is Dave Ward with The Ward Law Firm. We're continuing our video series on, what you can expect when going into court and what to do when you're testifying.


In this fourth video I wanted to cover something that can be very confusing for a lot of people and that is, a lot of times and this happens a lot on cross-examination. A lot of times people will be asked to answer a question in a yes or no, black or white, true or false, sort of fashion when the answer isn't really yes and it's not really no or it's not really black, it’s not really white, those kinds of things. And people try to get nailed down into a particular box.


Okay, so the first thing to understand about this is the different types of questions that we can be asked. When somebody's doing a direct examination in other words, if I'm the lawyer and I call somebody to the witness stand that person is usually my witness, meaning that I'm going to have to do something called a direct examination. And in a direct examination, I have to ask questions that are called open-ended questions, meaning that the question is completely open. The person can answer any way that they want. Okay, so for example, today it's a beautiful sunny day out. So, if I wanted to ask the person about the weather, I would just simply ask “what's the weather like outside today?” And the person would be allowed to answer it in any way that they wanted to.


The opposite of this are closed-ended questions and these are usually the questions that are asked on cross-examination and these are the questions that suggest what the answer is. So, in dealing with our same weather example a closed-ended form of the question might be “it's sunny outside, isn't it?” Okay, so that's the difference between those things. But sometimes we're given choices between one or the other and it's not really either of those things. And what do we do in those circumstances? There's a couple of different ways to handle it. The first one is to simply pick the answer that is the most correct and then explain why it's not entirely correct. Okay, so “yes, but” “no, however” those kinds of things.


Okay, the other way to really handle these sorts of things is to state out right ”It's not really yes. It's not really no. It's this and this is why.” Okay, so again, you notice consistent with what we talked about in our third video, I'm answering the question first and then I'm explaining what the answer is. So this is something that can help you get out of that trap when you're given an A/B choice and really the answer is C.


That is the fourth video in our series on what you can expect when going into court and what to do when you're testifying. I'm Dave Ward with The Ward Law Firm and we help parents protect those things that matter most.