Mark Levin is an attorney (I am not – I know law from watching Perry Mason)
One very important rule about questioning people in a trial is to not embed a “fact” in a question if you haven’t already introduced evidence to support that fact.
“Mr Smith, what did you think when you heard that Mr Jones beat his first wife?”
Firstly, that is a hearsay question. You generally only can testify to what you personally witnessed, not what someone else says happened
Q: Mr Jones, how long have you known Mr Smith?
A: Since high school
Q: Do you know if Mr Jones has been married?
A: Yes, I was the best man at the wedding of his first wife
Q: First Wife? Has he been married more than once?
A: Yes, they were divorced after about three years
Q: Did you continue to have contact with them after they were married?
A: Yes, mr Smith and I would go out drinking together pretty much every weekend
Q: Do you have any idea why they divorced?
A: Yes, I do. She decided to leave because he beat her up.
Q: Mr Smith, did the couple ever have disagreements while you were present?
A: yeah, several times when he was drunk, he slugged her
Q: so to be clear, you were in the room when Mr Smith beat his first wife
A: yes, that’s right
The lawyer isn’t introducing any facts that haven’t been backed by a prior question, and not leading the witness by phrasing the question to elecit the desired response. Of course, the lawyer already knows the answers to the questions before he asks them.
So Mr Levin asked the question over and over today implying guilt – “So when the bomber’s wife saw the picture of her husband, why didn’t she call the police?”
The FBI released those pictures at 5 PM ET on Thursday. The suspects are at the gas station when it is robbed at 10:20 PM, then the MIT officer is shot and the car is hijacked. Police track the stolen car through its GPS.
Facts not in evidence:
1) That she has a TV and watched the news
2).that she didn’t call police
It also includes a very dangerous principle – that failure to call the police is itself criminal. One of the special privileges of marriage is the spousal exemption that a wife cannot be compelled to testify against their husband.
So let’s now assume she was watching TV. The FBI announced ahead of time they were going to release pictures. The bombers probably were interested in seeing those pictures. So let’s say they both are watching the TV together. If you’re the wife of Bomber #1, what do you do?