Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A deposition demeanor

Depositions are a way of gathering information for court cases. You call a witness into a room, usually in their own home town, and you ask them questions about the case. There is a court reporter in the room taking down every word they say.

Then both sides get a copy of the deposition and prepare for trial. Those with the juicy information get put on as witnesses. The rest might get a passing mention.

The strategy for most depositions is laid out by the attorney from your "side" of the case.

Typically they will tell you:
*Don't lie
*Answer the questions but don't elaborate
*Don't ramble
*Don't offer information unless asked
*It's OK to say, "I don't know" or "I don't remember."

Now, about Roland Burris...he's a lawyer by profession. He was Attorney General for Illinois. He knows all about depositions.

It is a little hard for the public to believe that his behavior during the last two months was anything less than parsing words to deceive people.

Like Bill Clinton's answers, he thinks he's being "cute" by being evasive. As a lawyer he knows just what to say to stay legal. And he walks the line well. He thinks we're buying his innocence. Instead he's making us sick of one more crooked politician.

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