Questioning by Trial Judge

Unless otherwise indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court 

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals


State v. Brush, No. E2022-00379-CCA-R3-CD, p. 10 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. April 12, 2023)

Tennessee Rule of Evidence 614(b) permits the interrogation of witnesses by the trial judge. “So long as the inquiry is impartial, trial courts may ask questions to either clarify a point or to supply any omission.” Id. at 118 (citing Collins v. State, 416 S.W.2d 766 (Tenn. 1967); Parker v. State, 178 S.W. 438 (Tenn. 1915)). The trial judge’s questioning should not be hostile, such that it constitutes a “rigid cross-examination” of the witness. See Collins, 416 S.W.2d at 767. “When a court has improperly commented on the evidence, the comments must be considered in the overall context of the case to assess prejudice.” State v. Dwayne Jones, No. W2016-02070-CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 1040131, at *5 (Tenn. Crim. App., Jackson, Feb. 21, 2018) (citing State v. Hester, 324 S.W.3d 1, 89 (Tenn. 2010) (appendix)).



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