Jun 28 2011

What is a hostile witness?

Category: Law


Hostile WitnessA hostile witness isn’t necessarily what you might think. During the direct examination of a witness, an attorney may request that a witness be declared “hostile” if they find that their answers are contrary or unfavorable to their client. If a judge agrees with the attorney and determines that the witness is indeed “hostile”, the attorney may begin to ask “leading” questions which are typically reserved for the cross examination of a witness. So essentially a “hostile witness” has nothing to do with the demeanor of the witness but rather how a witness reacts to direct questioning. A hostile witness is rare but can occur when an individual, that is reluctant to testify, is called to the stand.

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