Overview of the law:
U.S. Constitution, Amendment VI: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him . . .” For more, see the Confrontation outline.
- MRE 611 grants the Military Judge (hereinafter MJ) control over mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence.
- MRE 611(a)(3) allows the military judge to protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.
- The scope of cross-examination is limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting the credibility of the witness. However, if the attorney wants to ask the witness questions that are beyond that scope, the attorney can – but must now ask questions in the direct exam (non-leading) mode. MRE 611(b).
- The inquiring attorney “Must have good faith basis for questions,” United States v. Pruitt , 46 M.J. 148 (C.A.A.F. 1997).