Contradiction Technique of Cross-Examination

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LINCOLN USED CONCESSION-SEEKING CROSS-EXAMINATION

The Crafton Murder Trial Cross-ExaminationAbraham Lincoln’s fame as a cross-examiner rests in large part on his decisive use of an almanac to discredit a witness in what history remembers as the Almanac Trial. If we dig into the history books, we can find much better support for the proposition that he was an excellent cross-examiner. [...]

THE CROSS-EXAMINER’ DEMEANOR – DO’S AND DON’TS

Don’t Show the DamageYou asked the “Why” question on cross-examination. And, you just learned why it is a commandment that you should never ask a “why” question on cross. You learned that you opened the door for the expert witness who is now expounding on the other side’s case theory. You wish you could go [...]

CROSS-EXAMINATION TO IDENTITY

How far has the art of cross-examination progressed in the last century? Has it progressed at all? We can get some indication from Illustrations in Advocacy, a nineteenth century trial advocacy manual by the British barrister, Richard Harris. In a chapter entitled “Several Modes of Cross-Examination,” Harris discusses how, and how not, to cross-examine an [...]

2ND ROOKIE MISTAKE OF CROSS-EXAMINATION: BEING WITHOUT PROOF

You Know the Cross-Examiner is a Rookie When . . .A lawyer should never attempt to impeach a witness with a prior inconsistent statement if the prior statement cannot be proven. Some lawyers ask about a prior statement without proof of the prior statement in the hopes that either the witness will admit it or, [...]

DRAGNET CROSS-EXAMINATION

On the old TV series Dragnet, Sergeant Joe Friday wanted his witnesses to tell him “Just the facts, ma’am, nothing but the facts.” This objective is as important on cross-examination as it was to Sergeant Friday. On cross-examination, you want just the facts, and you want your facts in small doses. One of the basic [...]

SANDUSKY TRIAL: ASKING THE “WHY” QUESTION ON CROSS

Cross-Examination of the Last Defense Witness - Dottie SanduskyToday, the defense rested without calling the defendant Jerry Sandusky in what has been described as the “child-sex scandal that rocks Penn State.” So, let’s take a look at the cross of the defense’s last witness – the devoted wife Dorothy “Dottie” Sandusky.Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan didn’t heed [...]

CROSS-EXAMINATION IMPEACHMENT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Concession-Seeking and Impeachment with Facebook, MySpace, Google+ and Other Social Media Social media can provide valuable ammunition for concession-seeking cross-examination and the contradiction technique explained in Cross-Examination Handbook. With thanks to Eric Goldman who has followed the appellate decisions around the country that have considered impeachment with information gathered from social media. The following are [...]

CROSS-EXAMINATION CONTRADICTION TECHNIQUE – SHOW THE STORY

Bailey Brothers Illustrate the Contradiction Technique SHOW THE STORY: The Power of Visual Advocacy, Trial Guides (2011) by William and Robert Bailey offers a superb example of the cross-examination contradiction technique. The essence of the technique is to lock the witness into testimony that can be proven false.SHOW THE STORY explains how trial lawyers can [...]

SUSANA, THE ELDERS AND THE CROSS-EXAMINATION CONTRADICTION TECHNIQUE

A Lesson from the ScripturesThe thirteenth chapter of Daniel (or the Apocryphal book of Susanna) tells the story of an accusation of adultery against a beautiful young woman named Susanna. The story is probably fictitious, having been composed possibly as early as the period of the Exile, but having been added to the book of [...]

F. LEE BAILEY’S POINTERS ON CROSS-EXAMINATION

The Importance of Eye Contact, Pacing and the Contradiction TechniqueWhatever else you otherwise think of F. Lee Bailey, he was a master of cross-examination. In Cross-Examination Handbook, we use his impeachment of Detective Mark Furhman as an illustration of the Contradiction Technique. Watch the video at the bottom of this page to see Bailey at [...]