There are certain things that investigators and other people involved in the criminal justice process aren’t allowed to do during the handling of a case. One of things that isn’t allowed is asking leading questions in court. This is something that lawyers have to be on the lookout for during a trial.
Leading questions are those that encourage a witness to answer in a specific manner. Typically, these questions are suggestive of one specific answer and the are close-ended so the witness could only answer with “yes” or “no” instead of being able to answer in their own words.
There are some instances in which a judge might allow leading questions. This could be the case if the lawyer is simply trying to get a witness to confirm a point that isn’t contested in the case. It is also the case during cross examination if the lawyer is questioning statements that were previously made.
Generally, open-ended questions are a better option for criminal justice trials. In some cases, those aren’t appropriate because they can produce lengthy answers that are a waste of time. In those cases, the lawyer must find a way to ask the question that will get the answer without leading the witness to say something specific.
For the defendants who are on trial, having someone to step up and note when leading questions are an issue can help to ensure that they aren’t being subjected to incorrect information being used during their trial. Of course, this is only one consideration that the defendant must think about when he or she is facing criminal charges.
Source: FindLaw, “Leading Questions,” accessed Oct. 28, 2016