Witness accurate identification

watch a funny scene with Austin Pendleton as John Gibbons, attorney in the public defender's office, and Maury Chaykin as Sam Tipton witness, clip from My Cousin Vinny.

Dialogues with pictures

STAN: We need to call an attorney. A great attorney. Do you know any great attorneys? BILL: No. I'm calling my mother. Hello, Ma. We're in Wazoo. It's in Beechum County, Alabama, Ma. Not too good, Ma. We've been arrested. Ma, please. First of all, we didn't do it, all right? Ma, it's a mistake. We must look like the guys who did it. STAN: Tell her what we think is happening. BILL: All right, Ma, listen. We gotta get an attorney, and it's gonna cost a lot of money. How much would an attorney cost? STAN: A decent one? $50,000. $100,000. BILL: Can we use any attorney? STAN: If this was a conspiracy, they'd have to get all those people to lie. Look, I think we should meet with the public defender.we should meet with the public defender See what he's like. If he's honest, then we should go with him. BILL: All right. ATTORNEY: All right. Mr. Tipton. Now, when you viewed my clients how far away were you? WITNESS: About 50 feet. ATTORNEY: Now, do you think that's close enough to make an accurate identification? make an accurate identification WITNESS: Yes.
[Annoyed by the witness's conviction in his answer, the lawyer tries to clarify the possibility that the witness made a correct identification.]
ATTORNEY: Mr. Tipton, I see you wear eyeglasses.
WITNESS: Sometimes.
ATTORNEY: Would you care to show those eyeglasses to the jury, show those eyeglasses to the jury, please? Thank you. Mr Tipton, were you wearing them that day?
ATTORNEY: You see. You were 50 feet away, you made a positive eyewitness identification, you made a positive eyewitness identification and-and-and yet you were not wearing your necessary prescription eyeglasses.
WITNESS: They're reading glasses.
ATTORNEY: Well, could you tell the court what colour eyes the defendants have?
WITNESS: Brown. Hazel green.
ATTORNEY: No more questions.

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Director Jonathan Lynn actually has a law degree and insisted the film's legal proceedings be realistic. In fact, many attorneys and law professors have praised the film for its accurate depiction of trial strategy and courtroom procedure, especially with regards to presenting expert witnesses at trial. In fact, the film has been screened at some law schools to illustrate courtroom procedures.

One respect in which this film departs from accurate legal procedure is the speed by which the case proceeds to trial. In general, it is rarely, if ever, less than 180 days.

According to Pendleton, he had trouble finding work in film for years because he became typecast as a stutterer.

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