Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

Evidence Rule 614 -- Calling and Interrogation of Witnesses by Court
Sandusky v. DeGidio (1988), 51 Ohio App. 3d 202 -- Headnote 2: "A trial judge in a criminal case has the right to interrogate a witness, including a defendant, who takes the witness stand, as long as the questions are relevant and do not suggest bias for one side over the other." Also see Jenkins v. Clark (1982), 7 Ohio App. 3d 93.
Bates v. Bill Swad Leasing Co. (1984), 17 Ohio App. 3d 153 -- Headnote: "...It is not proper for a trial court to cross-examine a party as to matters which are not relevant to the issues and which suggest to the jury the existence of an issue which has not been proved or raised by the parties." Judge asked the plaintiff how many beer joints he had passed.
State v. Dacons (1982), 5 Ohio App. 3d 112 -- Headnote: "Evid. R. 607 is consistent with the prior common-law rule of State v. Adams (1980), 62 Ohio St. 2d 151 insofar as it permits the trial court to call, as its witness, a witness who the state requests the trial court to call, and the state may impeach said witness with prior inconsistent statements even though the state cannot demonstrate surprise. Also see State v. Apanovitch (1987), 33 Ohio St. 3d 19.
State v. Wade (1978), 53 Ohio St. 2d 182, 188 -- When the issue is whether the trial court's remarks constitute reversible error: "(1) The burden of proof is placed upon the defendant to demonstrate prejudice, (2) it is assumed that the trial judge is in the best position to decide when a breach is committed and what corrective measures are called for, (3) the remarks are to be considered in light of the circumstances under which they are made, (4) consideration is to be given to their possible effect upon the jury, and (5) to their possible impairment of the effectiveness of counsel." Also see State v. Davis (1992), 79 Ohio App. 3d 450 on the importance of contemporaneous objection.
State v. Prokos (1993), 91 Ohio App. 3d 39 -- Prolonged and repetitive questioning from the bench which communicates the judge's view of the merits is improper.

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Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
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