In one of my first cases I was assigned to prosecute, on behalf of the United States,a soldier charged with robbing a Korean Store.
After thorough and diligent preparation the trial date finally arrived.I was most enthusiastic as this was one of my first felony cases.
After preliminaries I put the prosecution's star eye witness on the stand.(We will call him Mr Kim,to protect the guilty).
Mr Kim was the only eye witness to the robbery of the Store.The victim could not Identify anyone as the perpetrator.
Mr Kim had identified positively the accused soldier pre trial.
Question:"Mr Kim Can You identify the person who robbed the store?".
Translated Answer:"Yes".(MR Kim Spoke only Korean and a translator was used).
Question:"Please Point out the person who robbed the store"
Without hesitation Mr Kim raised his arm and pointed it directly at me the prosecutor,saying acording to the translator."That is the man!".
The Trial Judge directed that I put the question to the witness again stating "There must be some problem with the translation of the question"
Question:"Can You Identify the person who robbed the store?
Question:"Please look around the court room carefully and point to the person who robbed the store".
The witness Mr kim slowly and carefully looked around the courtroom from right to left.
Question:"Please point out the robber".
As The eye witness,Mr Kim,raised his right arm index finger extended. and pointed not at me the prosecutor ,I experienced a momentary feeling of relief but only momentary,because Mr Kim was pointing directly at theTrial Judge!
In that trial,in the small courtroom in Korea,so many years ago,I learned the eye witness lesson;eye witness testimony is not always reliable;and an eye witness ,before the trial,is not always an eye witness, during the trial.
Eye Witness may not be
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