Hi, I'm Dave Ward and we're continuing our video series on, what you can expect when going into court and what to do when you're testifying. In our third video, we're going to talk about answer the question that is asked not the question that you wish the person would have asked. And it sounds like it's something that would be sort of intuitive, but what can end up happening a lot of times is we hear a question it sounds similar to what we want to say. So we say the thing we want to say, rather than answering the question.
A lot of times this is called equivocating a response. So the example that I usually give people is if there had been, let's say a bank robbery and I'm a detective and I go in and I'm talking to one of the tellers and I ask the teller, ”well, you know, where you at work on Tuesday when this thing disappeared from the vault?” and teller says, “yes I was” and I say, “okay, well, did you go into the vault on Tuesday?” And the teller says, “well, we're not allowed to go into the vault.” Now it sounds like they answered the question right? Because if they're not allowed then I should just assume well, of course, they didn't go but that's not the answer to the question that I asked. The answer is either, “yes, I went in” or “no, I did not go in”.
So, usually what this means and judges and lawyers know to look for this, what it usually means when somebody does this is that they're trying to be deceptive about something. Okay, another example of what can happen is people start to explain their answer before they answer the question.
Okay, so one of the rules that sort of a corollary to this is make sure that you answer the question first and then explain what your answer is. Okay, and this is because when somebody goes directly into the explanation for things it's almost always because they're trying to downplay some aspect of things and judges again know to look for this and know that usually when this happens it means that somebody's being deceptive.
Now this can happen to people sort of naturally because sometimes when we're testifying it can become emotional. It's possible that it can be a little jarring, a little agitating those kinds of things. Sometimes lawyers will do that on purpose in order to get people to say things that perhaps they're not supposed to say, so by remembering to do this first, it's usually going to help you in establishing your credibility with the court and allows the court to follow the answers more thoroughly once you've answered it and then explained why the answer is what it is. I'm Dave Ward with The Ward Law Firm and we help parents protect those things that matter most.