Direct Examination

Direct Examination in the United States

Questioning of a witness by the party on whose behalf the witness is appearing. Direct examination is the first questioning of a witness. It is followed by cross-examination, which is conducted by the opposite party. If the party on whose behalf the witness testifies wishes to ask questions following cross-examination, it may do so on redirect examination.

Analysis and Relevance

Direct examination allows a party to develop testimony from his or her own witness. The objective of direct examination is to make the strongest case possible through the testimony of one’s own witnesses. The questions posed on direct examination also define the scope of the questions that can be asked on cross-examination because cross-examination is limited to those matters addressed on direct examination. Thus, narrow direct examination may keep the other side from obtaining damaging testimony from a party’s own witnesses.

Practical Information

The first interrogation or examination of a witness by the attorney for the party on whose behalf the witness is called. Direct examination is followed by crossexamination (in U.S. law), which is conducted by the adverse party, or adversary (in U.S. law).
(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Direct Examination?

For a meaning of it, read Direct Examination in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Direct Examination.

Meaning of Direct Examination

In plain or simple terms, Direct Examination means: The first questioning of a witness by the attorney for the party on whose behalf the witness is called. Usually proceeds with open ended, non leading questions.

Redirect Examination

After the prosecution has the opportunity to cross examine the defense witnesses, the defense has an opportunity to conduct a redirect examination. Redirect examination is a chance for the defense lawyer to show the jury that the witness got it right on direct examination, that is to say, that the witness wasn’t mistaken in his observation or didn’t draw an illogical conclusion. Redirect examinations should be short and should only be conducted when it is necessary to rehabilitate the witness by clearing up an inconsistency created during the cross examination. Redirect examination cannot go beyond the scope of the direct examination. [1]



1. Source: Criminal Defense Wiki

See Also

Cross-Examination (Criminal Process) Witness (Criminal Process).

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Direct Examination from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Direct Examination: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Direct Examination. This part provides references, in relation to Direct Examination, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Direct Examination by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Direct Examination and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Direct Examination or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Direct Examination and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Direct Examination. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Direct Examination should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Direct Examination when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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Law in Other Regions

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