to the issue,” counsel complied but eventually returned to the interrupted line of questioning. Whether or not the court’s rulings on cross-examination of Stephan Schliebe, the prosecution paint expert, were correct (see post, pt. VII), the court, contrary to defendant’s claim, did not “berate” counsel in making them. Counsel’s cross‑examination was extensive, technical, and at points confusing, and the court’s occasional impatience with repetitious or vague foundational questions did not convey a judicial bias against the defense.
On redirect examination of Adolfo Lara, defendant’s attorney in the robbery trial, confusion arose over two aspects of the prosecutor’s cross‑examination: On cross, Lara had been confronted with prior testimony in which he described his reaction to the news of Koll’s death as “disbelief,” and had also been denied an opportunity to explain why, once he was convinced Koll really had been killed, he was not “shocked.” On redirect, defense counsel attempted to read additional prior testimony going to the question of what Lara meant by “disbelief.” The court, apparently misrecalling the cross‑examination, thought Lara had wanted to explain his “disbelief” but had been denied that opportunity; the court told defense counsel, instead of reading the testimony, simply to ask Lara what he meant by “disbelief.” Lara then eliminated the source of the confusion by testifying that he was using “shock” and “disbelief” in the same sense, i.e., to convey that when the robbery prosecutor, Haney, told him Koll had been killed, Lara at first thought Haney was either joking or testing his reaction. The court’s repeated direction that counsel ask Lara what he meant rather than read his prior testimony betrayed judicial confusion—which was soon dispelled by Lara’s testimony—rather than bias.
Defendant complains of the court’s treatment of counsel during the direct examination of Ramesh Kar, the defense’s paint comparison expert.