American Rhetoric: Movie Speech
"My Cousin Vinny" (1992)
District Attorney Jim Trotter III 'Voir Dires' Mona Lisa Vito
Trotter: Your Honor, I object to this witness -- improper foundation. I'm not aware of this person's qualifications. I'd like to voir dire this witness as to the extent of her expertise.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Granted. Mr. Trotter, you may proceed.
Trotter: Miss Vito, what's your current profession?
Vito: I'm an out-of-work hairdresser.
Trotter: Out of work hairdresser. Now, in what way does that qualify you as an expert in automobiles.
Vito: It doesn't.
Trotter: Well in what way are you qualified?
Vito: Well my father was a mechanic. His father was a mechanic. My mother's father was a mechanic. My three brothers are mechanics. Four uncles on my father's side are mechanics --
Trotter: Miss Vito, your family is obviously qualified. But have you ever worked as a mechanic?
Vito: Yeah, in my father's garage, yeah.
Trotter: As a mechanic. What did you do in your father's garage?
Vito: Tune-ups, oil changes, brake relining, engine rebuilds; rebuilt some tranny's, rear end --
Trotter: Ok, ok. But does being an ex-mechanic necessarily qualify you as being an expert on tire marks?
Vito: No. Thank you. Good-bye.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Sit down and stay there until you're told to leave.
Vincent Gambini: You're Honor, Miss Vito's expertise is in general automotive knowledge. It is in this area that her testimony will be applicable. Now if Mr. Trotter wishes to voir dire the witness as the extent of her expertise in this area, I'm sure he's gonna be more than satisfied.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Ok.
Trotter: Alright, alright. Now, Miss Vito, being an expert on general automotive knowledge, can you tell me what would be the correct ignition timing be on a 1955 Bellaire Chevrolet with a 327 cubic engine and a 4-barrel carburetor.
Vito: It's a bullshit question.
Trotter: Does that mean that you can't answer it?
Vito: It's a bullshit question. It's impossible to answer.
Trotter: It's impossible because you don't know the answer!
Vito: Nobody could answer that question!
Trotter: Your Honor, I move to disqualify Miss Vito as a expert witness.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Can you answer the question?
Vito: No. It is a trick question.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Why is it a trick question?
Vincent Gambini: Watch this.
Vito: 'Cause Chevy didn't make a 327 in '55. The 327 didn't come out til '62. And it wasn't offered in the Bellaire with the 4-barrel carburetor til '64. However, in 1964 the correct ignition timing would be 4 degrees before top dead center.
Trotter: Well, uh, she's acceptable, Your Honor.