Yakkie the Goose: Direct exam of an eye witness
The defense is bringing in a memory expert from back east. To say the surviving brother's memory is not real.
This is an asbestos-mesothelioma trial. The exposure happened in the 1970s. The only witnesses who can identify the product are the brother (who was then eight) and the deceased.
We call the brother early. The plan is to inoculate against the defense by proving his clear memory. We have to do several other things as well. Such as establishing enough evidence to overcome a motion for directed verdict.
The jury is solemn. There is tension in the court. The witness is nervous at first. Settles in as soft routine questions surround him. And then, the moment comes when you can feel the jury turn towards instead of away from our side. The moment comes - with the Story of Yakkie the Goose.
20 Q. So let's move up to a year to, let's say you're around
21 six years old. Can you tell us a story about when you were
22 six that really sticks out in your mind?
23 A. Oh, well, we went fishing one time. We seen some baby
24 geese. It was (inaudible), I believe. We wanted -- me and
25 Jimmie wanted one of the geese. So my dad went out there
1 and he caught one. We ended up taking it home, and we had
2 it as a pet.
3 Q. Well, now how did you carry the goose -- was it a
4 goose or was it a baby goose?
5 A. It was a baby. It was tiny.
6 Q. Do you remember details about how you even got it
8 A. Well, put it in the car. Me and Jimmie -- we wanted
9 to hold it but my mom said no. You're not -- I think she
10 was scared we were going to squish it. She held it on her
11 lap on the way home. It pooped all over her lap, so we kind
12 of found that funny.
13 Q. And you would have been around six?
14 A. I believe so, yes.
15 Q. And tell me about the goose -- I think -- tell me what
16 happened to the goose? Tell me about your life with the
18 A. We had him, I believe, at least a year. He grew up to
19 probably -- I don't know, three foot tall. Never could fly,
20 though. He used to chase us around the yard. He slept in
21 our house. We would have to keep him on the back porch
22 because of my father and mother, but -- he would sleep with
23 us on occasion. He'd actually play hide and go seek with
25 Q. How did the goose play hide and go seek?
1 A. Well, he would stick his head under the couch
2 cushions, and my mom would, you know, say go, hide. And
3 then she'd say, go get 'em, Yakkie, and he would just pull
4 his head out and scream. He wouldn't look for us. He would
5 just scream until we came out.
6 Q. You named the goose?
7 A. I did not. Jimmie did.
8 Q. Yakkie?
9 A. He got to name it. Yes, Yakkie. Because he was
10 always yak, yak, yak.
11 Q. So was Yakkie around by the time of the incident that
12 we're talking about today?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Okay. So this would have been before your grandma.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So sometimes it seems like you have a fairly clear
18 A. Yes.
The full direct exam is attached. You have to imagine the bantering tone that exists between attorney and witness. The beautiful simplicity of the messenger and his message. And the bemused delighted laughter from the jury.
Transcript: The goose