Anatomy of a Murder

Traver, Robert

St. Martin's, 1983

pp. 412-13

A veteran court observer: “The prosecutor has a special mind, mongoose quick, bullying, devious, unrelenting, forever baited to ensnare.  It is almost duty bound to mislead, and by instinct dotes on confusing and flourishes on weakness.  Its search is for blemishes it can present as scars, its obligation to raise doubts or sour with suspicion.  It asks questions not to learn but to convict, and can read guilt into the most innocent of answers.  Its hope, its aim, its triumph is to addle a witness into confession by tricking, exhausting, or irritating him into anto a verbal indiscretion which sounds like a damaging admission.  To natural lapses of memory it gives the appearance either of stratagems for hiding misdeeds or, worse still, of lies dark and deliberate.  Feigned and wheedling politeness, sarcasm that scalds, intimidation, surprise, and besmirchment by innuendo, association, or suggestion, at the same time that any intention to besmirch is denied—all these as methods and devices are such staples of the prosecutor’s repertory that his mind turns to them by rote.”