I'm the defendant in a Maryland traffic case. It's an automated traffic enforcement ticket (red-light camera). I'm pleading not-guilty and have requested a trial. I'm not a lawyer but I have spent a lot of time in court successfully fighting traffic tickets and I have some legal background.
In my observation these red-light camera trials are usually perfunctory open-and-shut affairs where the defendant stands little chance of winning. Most of the time, they don't even have a good legal argument. There is little formality and the defendants hardly ever insist on asserting their full legal rights. Sometimes when they do, the prosecution and judge are caught unprepared. I hope to exploit this unpreparedness to win my case.
In a normal trial, the prosecution gives it opening statements, then the defendant gives their opening statement, then they cross examine each others' witnesses then they give closing statements. If one side fails to ask a question during the cross-examination, they cannot return to the cross-examination after the closing statements have started. Right?
But I have frequently seen traffic judges asking important questions about facts right before issuing their verdict. "How fast were you going?", "Did you have your turn signal on"? These seem to be questions that should have been asked by cross-examiners -- not the judge. If the prosecution failed to make their case when they had the chance, the judge should not help them by asking questions they failed to ask, right?
If -- after my closing statement -- the judge asks me factual questions that the prosecution forgot to ask, is it legitimate for me to raise an objection about it? Do you think its likely to be upheld? Would a good objection be something like "Your honor the prosecution has to make its case without this court cross-examining on its behalf"?