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1. Beis Din interrogates witnesses with seven Chakiros.
2. Beis Din interrogates the witnesses with Bedikos. The more Bedikos they ask, the better it is.
3. Even if one of the witnesses does not know the answer to one of the Bedikos, their testimony is still valid.
4. If one witness says that the incident occurred in the second hour of the day and the other witness says that it occurred in the third hour, their testimony is still valid.
5. If one of the witnesses wants to present a reason to acquit the defendant, Beis Din does not allow him to do so.
6. If one of the judges does not know how to rule, more judges are added to the Beis Din.
7. According to one opinion in the Beraisa, Beis Din questions witnesses with eight Chakiros.
8. Rebbi Yosi maintains that Beis Din questions witnesses with only three Chakiros.
A BIT MORE
1. The witnesses are questioned regarding the Shavu'a (of the Yovel), the year, the month, the day of the month, the day of the week, the time and the place of the incident on which they testified. If even one of the witnesses does not know the answer to one of these questions, the entire testimony is Batel even if there are one hundred witnesses. This is because if even one of these questions is left unanswered, it diminishes the possibility that the witnesses will be Huzam, and the testimony of a group of witnesses is not valid unless it is possible to be Mazim all of the witnesses.
2. Beis Din asks the witnesses questions about the details of the incident on which they are testifying. For instance, in a murder case, Beis Din asks if they recognized the murder victim, if they gave Hasra'ah to the murderer, if the perpetrator accepted the Hasra'ah and said that he understands that the act is forbidden, if the perpetrator was warned that he would be killed for his sin and nevertheless said that he was committing the act with the knowledge that he will be killed, and if the act was done b'Toch Kedei Dibur (within a few seconds) of the Hasra'ah. In a case in which the defendant is being judged for the sin of Avodah Zarah, the witnesses are asked what Avodah Zarah he worshipped and in what manner he worshipped it.
3. If the witnesses contradict each other in their answers to either the Chakiros or Bedikos, their testimony is Batel. However, if Beis Din asks them a question and they do not know the answer (or one of them does not know), their testimony is Batel only if this takes place in the Chakiros. If it takes place in the Bedikos, their testimony remains valid. Even if they contradict each other in their anwers to the Chakiros, however, the testimony sometimes is upheld. If one witness says that the incident occurred on the second day of the month and the other witness says that it occurred on the third day of the month, Beis Din still accepts their testimony because it is assumed that they are both referring to the same day and the first witness knew that the previous month was a full month but the second witness did not know.
4. It is easy to mistake the second hour of the day for the third hour, and therefore if one witness says that the incident occurred in the second hour of the day and the other witness says that it occurred in the third hour, they are not considered to have contradicted each other. If one witness says that the incident occurred in the third hour of the day and the other witness says that it took place in the fifth hour of the day, the Rabanan maintain that their testimony is Batel but Rebbi Yehudah maintains that it is still valid. However, even Rebbi Yehudah agrees that if one witness says that the incident took place in the fifth hour of the day and the other witness says that it took place in the seventh hour of the day, their testimony is Batel. Since the sun is on the other side of the sky in the seventh hour of the day, it is impossible for one of the witnesses to have made a mistake as to whether it was the fifth hour or the seventh hour of the day.
5. Although a witness is not permitted to argue even on the defendant's behalf, a student is permitted to argue that the defendant should be acquitted but not that he should be convicted. Thus, if one of the students wants to present an argument for the defendant's Chov, Beis Din does not accept it, but if he wants to present an argument for the defendant's Zechus, he is brought up to sit among the judges and he stays there for the rest of the day. Even if the Ba'al Din himself wants to present an argument for his own Zechus, Beis Din listens to him if he says something that makes sense.
6. If twelve judges say that the defendant is Chayav and eleven say that he is Zakai, or if one of the judges is unable to reach a conclusion, even if the other twenty-two rule unanimously that the defendant is either Chayav or Zakai, another pair of judges should be added to the Beis Din. If the new pair of judges is also split and the Beis Din still cannot reach a verdict, more pairs of judges continue to be added to the Beis Din until there are seventy-one judges. Once there are seventy-one judges on the Beis Din, they debate among themselves until the defendant is acquitted by a majority of the judges or there are two more judges who rule that the defendant is Chayav than those who rule that he is Zakai.
7. The eighth Chakirah, which the Tana of the Beraisa adds, is with regard to the Yovel in which the incident took place. According to the Tana'im who maintain that there are only seven Chakiros, it is unnecessary for Beis Din to ask in which Yovel the incident took place since Beis Din asks in which Shavu'a it took place, and witnesses do not wait until the following Yovel to testify on something that they saw.
8. Rebbi Yosi maintains that since witnesses usually testify on the day after the incident occurs, it is not necessary for Beis Din to question them about the Shavu'a, year, month, or day of the month of the incident, and Beis Din asks only about the day, the hour and the place. The Rabanan maintain that even though all seven Chakiros are usually not necessary, Beis Din asks all seven in order to impose difficulties on the witnesses, in the hope that they will retract their testimony because of all the questions.
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