Why did the defense have Ms. Moore testify?

The defense called Ms. Moore to testify because she was an alibi witness for Mr. King. During cross-examination, the prosecutor tried to prove that Ms. Moore was lying about her encounter with Mr. King in order to protect him because he is her cousin and she may have feelings for him as more than just a family member. In closing arguments, Mr. Briggs reminded jurors that they should believe Ms. Moore over the prosecution’s witnesses because she is a law-abiding citizen compared to the prosecution’s witnesses who are admitted criminals and drug addicts (210).

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mr. Asa Briggs, Mr. James King’s attorney, calls Mrs. Dorothy Moore to testify on behalf of the defense as an alibi witness for Mr. King. When Mrs. Moore is asked to testify, she states that Mr. King came over to her house the afternoon of the robbery at three-thirty. Mr....

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Mr. Asa Briggs, Mr. James King’s attorney, calls Mrs. Dorothy Moore to testify on behalf of the defense as an alibi witness for Mr. King. When Mrs. Moore is asked to testify, she states that Mr. King came over to her house the afternoon of the robbery at three-thirty. Mr. Briggs uses this testimony to confirm that Mr. King could not have committed the robbery and murder because he would have been at Mrs. Moore’s house at the time. Therefore, Mrs. Moore is Mr. King’s alibi. However, Mrs. Sandra Petrocelli, the prosecutor, cross-examines Mrs. Moore to pick apart her testimony and prove that she is lying. First, Mrs. Petrocelli asks, “how often does Mr. King come to your house?” (206), to which Mrs. Moore replies that he comes twice a month because “he’s my cousin” (207). Mrs. Moore supports her story, responding that the purpose of his visit was to drop by as well as to bring her a lamp “he thought I might like” (207). Mrs. Petrocelli follows up this story by asking if Mr. King had a job at the time—which he did not, according to Mrs. Moore. Therefore, Mrs. Petrocelli points out that Mr. King must have been being “nice” (208), in which case Mrs. Moore must “like him a lot” (208). Essentially, Mrs. Petrocelli tries to suggest that Mrs. Moore is lying to protect Mr. King because he is her cousin. Mrs. Petrocelli even goes on to prove that Mrs. Moore does not “know a lot about your cousin” (209) and no longer has the lamp as proof (because it broke), suggesting that Mrs. Moore may not have told the truth about the situation. Despite Mrs. Petrocelli’s cross-examination, Mrs. Moore’s testimony is readdressed in Mr. Brigg’s closing argument as he attempts to prove that jurors should believe Mrs. Moore, “who has never committed a crime in her life,” over the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses, who are admitted criminals. Overall, Mrs. Moore’s purpose in the defense’s case is to provide a law-abiding citizen as the alibi for Mr. King.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

During the trial, Asa Briggs uses Dorthy Moore as a witness to testify that James King was at her house during the robbery. She tells Briggs that James was at her home around three thirty. When Petrocelli cross-examines Moore, Dorthy mentions that she is James' cousin. Dorthy also says that James visited her about twice a month and was simply dropping off a lamp which happened to be a Christmas present. Petrocelli then asks her the cost of the lamp and if she remembered whether James was working at the time. Dorthy Moore cannot recall the price of the lamp or if James was employed. However,  Dorthy insists that she isn't lying but continues to struggle when she is asked questions about James' life. Petrocelli then asks Dorthy if she still has the lamp, and Moore says that she does not have it because it broke. Asa Briggs uses Moore's testimony as an alibi that James King was not near the store during the crime. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team