Don’ts for Cross-Examination

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18 02, 2014

RELAX – “IT’S EXRAORDINARILY RARE TO LOSE A CASE ON CROSS-EXAMINATION” BUT EXCEPTIONS EXIST

By |February 18th, 2014|Books on Cross, Books on Trial Advocacy, Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Tips on Cross, Your Chance to Testify|0 Comments

Observations in The Elements of Trial by Friedman and CummingsIn their new book TheElements of Trial (Trial Guides 2013), Rick Friedman and Bill Cummings make a point that we make in Cross-Examination Handbook that a well- planned cross-examination presents little risk to the cross-examiner. We point out that cross-examination is the examiner’s opportunity to elicit [...]

14 12, 2013

CROSS-EXAMINATION VIDEOS

By |December 14th, 2013|Casey Anthony case, Concession-Seeking Cross, Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Movies, Seattle University Law School, Teacher Materials, Tips on Cross|0 Comments

Ann Murphy’s Gift of Cross-Examination VideosProfessor Ann Murphy (pictured here) has compiled a collection of videos and photographs that can be used to enliven any class presentation on evidence or cross-examination. This collection is valuable not only for evidence and trial advocacy professors but also for attorneys and law students who want to watch how [...]

4 12, 2013

SUICIDAL REDIRECT EXAMINATION

By |December 4th, 2013|Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Redirect Examination|11 Comments

There’s an old saying that cross-examination is more often suicidal than homicidal. The saying refers to the fact that many lawyers do irreparable harm to their cases by conducting an inept cross-examination. Sometimes the witness will commit suicide by blurting out things far better left unblurted. When this happens, the cross-examiner should abandon the role [...]

13 11, 2013

LEADING VERSUS LOADED

By |November 13th, 2013|Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Leading vs. Loaded, Lindbergh case|35 Comments

According to the state’s factual theory in the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, the kidnapper used a homemade ladder to climb into the child’s second story window, and the ladder broke when he climbed back down the ladder with the added weight of the child. The child died from blunt trauma to the head, and it was [...]

11 11, 2013

ORGANIZING A DYNAMIC CROSS-EXAMNATION

By |November 11th, 2013|Don'ts for Cross-Examination, James McElhaney, Organization, Tips on Cross|1 Comment

Do’s and Don’ts for Organizing a Dynamic CrossAre the jurors following your cross-examination? Or, are they lost? Is your cross-examination easy to comprehend? Or, is it just a jumble? Is the structure of your cross achieving your purpose? Or, is it just rehashing the direct? While a great deal of attention in trial advocacy texts [...]

5 11, 2013

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

By |November 5th, 2013|Books on Cross, Contradiction Technique of Cross-Examination, Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Expert Witness, Tips on Cross|0 Comments

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 [...]

26 10, 2013

CROSS-EXAMINATION – THINK BIG

By |October 26th, 2013|Cross Handbook, Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Tips on Cross|1 Comment

No cross-examination is more ineffective than one that dwells on minutia. A cross that focuses on inconsequential matter neither builds the cross-examiner’s case nor undercuts the other side’s case. It serves no purpose. It can be tedious. And, it can damage the credibility of the cross-examiner. Henry Miller, a seasoned trial attorney put it this [...]

16 10, 2013

LAWYERS’ DUMB QUESTIONS

By |October 16th, 2013|Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Humor, Questions|0 Comments

Here is some more on the subject of questioning. Lawyers ask some dumb questions on cross-examination. “Why?” being the dumbest of them all because it opens the door for the witness to say almost anything. The following quotations are taken from official court records across the nation, showing how funny and embarrassing it is that [...]

14 05, 2013

3rd ROOKIE MISTAKE OF CROSS-EXAMINATION: REPEATING THE DIRECT

By |May 14th, 2013|Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Irving Younger, Rookie Mistakes, Tips on Cross, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire trial|0 Comments

Irving Younger’s 7th CommandmentIt is probably the most common rookie mistake - the cross-examiner has the witness repeat their direct examination. Question: “On direct examination you told this jury that . . .” The error is grievous. It violates Irving Younger’s 7th commandment: “Don't allow the witness to repeat his direct testimony.” Younger’s commandment directs [...]

13 03, 2013

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

By |March 13th, 2013|Audience of Cross, Contradiction Technique of Cross-Examination, Don'ts for Cross-Examination, Impeachment, Rookie Mistakes|1 Comment

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, [...]

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