Dr. Vincent Di Maio, Expert Witness, Part II of III
By Monette Benoit,
All Rights Reserved.
Part I began: Dr. Vincent Di Maio recently testified as a forensic pathologist for the defense in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman. He is consistently described “as a legend.” Watching Dr. Di Maio on CNN’s live coverage, he detailed his background, and his work as Chief Medical Examiner, M.E., for Bexar County, Texas.
For the court reporter, he said, “It is spelled B-e-x-a-r and pronounced ‘bear’ ” …
Dr. Di Maio is recognized in San Antonio for his forensic work as our M.E., his testimony in court, for teaching at UTSA, and for his many professional and personal contributions.
Our paths crossed early 1980s when he was considered “new” in Bexar County. One morning I learned Dr. Di Maio was called as an expert witness and M.E. to testify in a criminal trial I was reporting. Professionals approached me, “He knows his work; you’ll have to interrupt. He’s fast.”
I looked to the 12-person jury seated on this murder trial; Dr. Di Maio entered…
During a bench conference, he asked if I was okay. Due to his reputation as a fast speaker, which he acknowledged, and his attention to exacting detail I gave him a hand gesture that I was okay. (Perhaps the gesture could be interpreted as “faster.” I remember his laughter.)
He finished his qualifications and M.E. details. He was accepted as an expert by the attorneys and court. Testimony began.
Part II of III
Technology then was color photographs on art easels; a school teacher’s pointer was used by attorneys.
During a prolonged off-the-record discussion, Dr. Di Maio leaned over to privately speak to me.
He paused, and said, “It’s nice to work with you, Miss Reporter. You can call me Vinnie.”
I blinked hard. He repeated his words, “Please. Call me Vinnie when you can.”
Solemnly, I watched the judge. I did not respond or react.
It was a day that continued to stun me.
Within the courtroom I heard my father cough.
My parents traveled to each city in which I worked. They would “appear” in a courtroom. My father would cough once. My parents enjoyed this. Me? Never. (Judges had me readback arraignments, indictments, testimony, and voire dire while they were in the courtroom, so “your parents can see and hear how their money is invested.”)
That day when I heard my father’s cough, I scanned the crowded courtroom.
When I saw my parents I hung my head. Sweat began to flow from my palms and fingers.
Dr. Di Maio was testifying in exact detail about the decedent’s heart during the (his) autopsy and how the defendant had killed said decedent with a single wound to the heart.
I was stroking word, word, word … thinking, “Do not think about parents. Think word.”
As the nature of the trial turned to sexual details, I heard a loud gasp.
I saw my mother stand and place her hands over her ears.
She said, “I did not raise my daughter to listen to things like this!”
My mother ran to the exit doors. Stunned, a bailiff promptly opened a door; Mom exited with Olympic speed.
A long silence hung in the air before testimony continued. I kept my head down.
Later, the judge said, “Court will take a brief recess. Miss Reporter, chambers, please.”
I stood with my machine, following the judge as the jury, attorneys, witness, and courtroom waited.
Perhaps the judge asked me if I knew that woman.
Perhaps I paused, and said, “No, Your Honor.”
The judge may have asked again saying, “You look just like her, Monette,” before I may have hung my head and reluctantly “admitted” that they are my parents.
We re-entered the court; testimony continued until lunch. Dr. Di Maio would return. I stood as the jury exited and the courtroom emptied. (Court was being covered that day by newspapers, TV, filled with family members, friends, and spectators for the prosecution and for the defense. This trial was news.)
Then the judge walked to my father (Mom was not in the courtroom), introduced himself, and asked if we would like to join him for lunch.
Walking to lunch, the judge and I walked ahead of my parents. They followed behind us on the narrow sidewalk.
Suddenly, my father reached forward to speak to the judge, touching him on the left shoulder.
The judge quickly reached for his shoulder with his right hand, and perhaps, raised his voice, “Monette, tell your father never touch a criminal judge from behind on the shoulder!”
I watched the bailiffs that followed moving quickly and knew the left shoulder held a firearm, due to multiple threats.
Again, I hung my head (as I explained to Dad, on the sidewalk, why he could not touch this man).
Part I of III is posted October 5, 2013, www.monettebenoit.com and www.CRRbooks.com
Part II of III is posted October 15, 2013, www.monettebenoit.com and www.CRRbooks.com
Part III of III is posted October 30, 2013, www.monettebenoit.com and www.CRRbooks.com
Monette, Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com
Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal
Tutor, Motivational Management & Empowerment Coach,
Multiple Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting, CART, & Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist
All American RealTime/Captioning Services, Inc.: www.ARTCS.com
Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com
* Educational/Career Advancement; Private Tutoring/Customized Coaching
Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RMR, RDR, or a state court reporting exam?
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About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART provider, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.
Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART providers, captioners, students, and instructors. She has also helped create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.
Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.
Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day.