Although cross-examination can be the part of trial that is the most fun for experienced trial lawyers, preparing good cross-examination takes a lot of thought and hard work. You might be asking yourself what I am talking about since that's not really cross examination. But, perhaps more importantly, he was also not listening to the witness when the witness handed him a golden opportunity. Each expert believes a different set of facts. Witnesses who present only foundational facts should not be cross-examined. To reach Gerry, call him now at 516-487-8207 The material on this website is for informational purposes only. You can prepare for the cross exam, but you never have to worry about it sounding memorized.
I wrote in a book that cross examination is a series of statements by the lawyer occasionally interrupted with a yes by the witness. It is possible to show the witness was not present when certain events occurred. As a matter of fact, I could barely hear it. Avoid the use of modifiers and generalizations. Ordinarily leading questions should be permitted on cross-examination. Still, others are polite, respectful and quite nice when they cross-examine a witness. Now, some of you may be thinking: Well, if a witness says she didn't testify to that statement or claims she can't recall it, I can ask the court to have the reporter read it back to her.
Look at question number 2. And while sitting in your car that was parked next to the curb with the radio on, you noticed the light, did you not? While Frey proved to be a star witness for the prosecution of Scott Peterson once he had been charged with the murder of his wife, the prosecution placed a great deal of weight on the testimony of various expert witnesses. Fierce Advcoate or Unbiased Expert? We are also challenging the witness's conclusions. My goal is not to ridicule the witness. Make sure jurors can see important demonstrative evidence or key documents, so they understand where you are going with cross-examination. Rule 611 c of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides that: Leading questions should not be used on the direct examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop the witness' testimony.
Although there are good arguments in support of broad cross-examination from perspectives of developing all relevant evidence, we believe the factors of insuring an orderly and predictable development of the evidence weigh in favor of the narrower rule, especially when discretion is given to the trial judge to permit inquiry into additional matters. If the ultimate point comes from the mouth of the examiner, then there is nothing for the jury to say Eureka! Various reasons have been advanced to justify the rule of limited cross-examination. The following eight steps will help you create effective cross-examination that will advance your case. In cross-examination, our goal is simply to undermine the other side's story or to confirm points in our story. And you were drunk and disorderly in March of 1978, were you not? Meandering cross-examination that goes nowhere bores jurors and accomplishes nothing. Additionally, on re-direct, an interrogator will often ask questions which specifically seek to elicit whether an inference resulting from questioning on cross examinations is accurate. One of the remarkable things about cross-examination is that it allows me, as the attorney who is questioning an adverse witness, to tell a story in my own words.
Now what is a leading question? By obtaining his concession to each new fact necessary to our ultimate goal, we close off avenues of retreat which would otherwise be available to the witness as a means for defeating our chosen line of cross. Also, if we don't listen to the witness, we won't hear his exact answer and without that, we can't effectively use this technique. Too often, however, so involved are we in the conduct of the cross, in thinking our next question, that we miss the opportunity provided by the witness. While you and the witness might easily understand what paragraph seven of the contract says and how it contradicts the witness's testimony, jurors may start daydreaming if they cannot see the actual language of paragraph seven. Effective cross-examination requires the cross-examining attorney to be able to challenge an incorrect answer in a moment's notice. Examination of hostile witnesses usually takes place on cross-examination. For example, if you are a prosecution witness, the prosecution lawyer will question you and then once they are done, the defense lawyer will cross question you.
Obviously, our young friend was not applying some of the control techniques we've discussed. Thus, the attorney may help his own witness to tell a pre-planned story. The first thing that will usually happen is that they will get defensive. How does a witness get out of control? Read on for another quiz question. In medical malpractice cases in New York, we are required to bring in medical experts to support our claim.
Remember when I said earlier that one of the key goals of cross examining a witness is to confront and challenge their observations and conclusions? Klein While direct examination may be the hardest - and most important - part of any trial, cross-examination is usually the most fun. The provision of the second sentence, that the judge may in the interests of justice limit inquiry into new matters on cross-examination, is designed for those situations in which the result otherwise would be confusion, complication, or protraction of the case, not as a matter of rule but as demonstrable in the actual development of the particular case. See also 5 Moore's Federal Practice 43. Ask mostly leading questions, not open-ended questions. Non-leading, because the answer literally doesn't matter A. It is my hope that none of you will ever suffer that feeling and that these suggestions help keep you from that fate. As time went on however, his story began changing, and police grew suspicious.
When you find something you can use, craft questions that will make the inconsistencies apparent to the jury and judge during the cross examination. Where you are confronted with a seemingly honest witness with no ax to grind who has damaging evidence to present, attack the witness's ability to perceive the events at issue. You were drinking at Fenster's, weren't you? They are known as the fact-finders. Above the noise of the people on the street, isn't that a fact? Each approach depends upon the witness and what you hope to accomplish. Consider these questions asked on cross: 1. They have, therefore, a desire to set the witness up for the devastating inconsistency that will follow by pinning witnesses to their previous testimony.
This may be done by showing that the witness is somehow prejudiced in his understanding or testimony, or that he has a stake in the outcome of the proceedings. If you have not had an opportunity to watch a cross examination in person, I highly encourage you to go into one of our public courtrooms in our state court system here in New York. After that attorney ends his questioning, the attorney for the opposing party is given the opportunity to ask questions of the same witness. In this type of approach, the intent is not to show the witness is lying but that the witness cannot be counted upon to testify accurately to what occurred. But the concept of vouching is discredited, and Rule 607 rejects it. Whenever he does, he hands the examiner a perfect opening for just such an examination as demonstrated above.