Impeachment

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GALILEO AND A FATAL MISTAKE IN WITNESS PREPARATION

Cross-Examining Galileo The dynamics of examining witnesses have changed greatly during the evolution of the modern criminal justice system, but some things never change. The neglect of witnesses to read their previous statements before giving testimony is a common contributing factor in the success of cross-examination, and this has been true for centuries.In April of [...]

LEARNING WHAT NOT TO DO ON CROSS-EXAMINATION

Law Students Watch Horrible Cross-ExaminationsHorrible cross-examinations are ubiquitous. Every day of the court week, they take place on every floor of the courthouse. Seeing is believing, understanding and knowing what not to do.For the first time, I added to my Seattle University Law School Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course a requirement that the students spend a [...]

TRUISMS FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION

David Paul Jones’s Rules of Cross-Examination (Jones was a British barrister who wrote a century and a half ago)1. Except in indifferent matters, never take your eye from that of the witness; this is a channel of communication from mind to mind, the loss of which nothing can compensate. Truth, falsehood, hatred, anger, scorn, despair, [...]

CROSS-EXAMINATATION TO EXPOSE A FAULTY MEMORY – QUEEN CAROLINE’S TRIAL

Examination on Collateral MattersThe divorce case of Queen Caroline, heard in 1820 by the House of Lords (pictured here), is a landmark case for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the trial had major implications not only for legal procedure but also for the continued existence of the [...]

IMPEACHMENT WITH SILENCE – A LINDBERG CASE LESSON

Cross-Examination of the Expert on Silence One of the key pieces of evidence in the Lindbergh kidnapping case was a shoddily built homemade ladder found on the grounds of the Lindbergh estate. As soon as a qualified crime scene technician arrived at the Lindbergh home, the ladder was examined for fingerprints. At that time the [...]

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 HANDBOOK CITED BY EVIDENCE SCHOLARS

Message from Professor Ronald Carlson Ronald L. Carlson, Fuller E. Callaway Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law, is one of America’s preeminent evidence scholars. He recently e-mailed us about Cross-Examination Handbook. His email comments, which he said we could share, read as follows: “I just sent in the copy for my part of [...]