I am grateful for the excellent article about cross examination from the Baltimore Daily
“Cross Examining the Mendacious Witness” because of the testimony in a ethics hearing in Scottsdale. Miracopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio testified in a hearing by the Bar Association to discipline the County Prosecuting Attorney and his deputy for their conduct in charging a number of people in authority,
including a sitting Superior Court Judge with various crimes as a means of olitical pay back.
The good sheriff answered “I don’t recall 27 times in a 30 minute span on the witness stand at the disbarment hearing. Since it’s alleged that the sheriff was in cooperation with the prosecutor this is significant. It appears that the self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff in America” has the worst memory in Maricopa county.
That brings to ind the trial of Queen Caroline in 1820. King George charged her with adultery
and at the trial an Italian servant who had been on the ship with her claimed to be an eye witness to the affair. Teodoro Majocchi was cross examined by the famous barrister Henry Brougham, who was representing the queen. Majocchi fell back to one response “non mi recordo” –I do not remember. He was unable to remember where the rooms were located of the Queen and her alleged paramour. He
was unable to remember anything at all during cross examination.
In closing rgument, Brougham demonstrated that Majocchi's repeated answers, "non mi ricordo," defied belief. He argued:
“Theodore Majocchi, of happy memory, will be long known in this county and everywhere
else, much after the manner in which ancient sages have reached our day, whose names are lost in the celebrity of the little saying by which each is now distinguished by mankind, and in which they were known to have embodied the practical result of their own experience and wisdom. …
My Lords, this person is a witness of great importance. He was the first called and the last
examined; … There is an end, then, of innocent forgetfulness, if when I come
to ask where the rest slept, he either tells me, "I do not know," or "I do not recollect"; because he had known and must have recollected that when he presumed to say to my learned friends, "these two rooms were alone, near and connected, and others were distant and apart"; when he said that, he affirmed his recollection of the proximity of those rooms and the remoteness of the others. He swore that at first and afterward said, "I know not," "I recollect not" and perjured himself as plainly as if he had told your Lordships one day that he saw a person and the next day he never saw him in his life. … “