Four major uses of cross-examination
• Establish areas of agreement that support
your case theory
• Set up your closing
• Credentialize your witnesses
• Discredit opposing witnesses
Do's and don'ts in conducting a
• Be prepared
• Be brief
• Use simple language for your questions
• Don't argue with the witness
• Ask only leading questions
• Know the answer to the question you ask
• Listen to the answer
• Don't allow the witness to explain if you can
Nine modes of impeachment
• Able to take the oath?
• Observed something?
• Remembers it?
• Relates it?
• Prior conviction?
• Prior bad acts?
• Interest, bias, motive in case?
• Prior inconsistent statements?
• Reputation for lack of truth?
• Pace and rhythm
• Form of question
• Position and body language
Write out questions
Use preparation forms in Trial &
• Determine goals
Decide what you want to establish from the
witness on cross-examination. Do you want to gain additional evidence for
your case, discredit the witness or both? Your goals must be consistent
with your overall case theory and strategy.
• Select topics
Your topics must be consistent with your goals.
If your goal is to discredit the witness, choose one or two impeachment
modes. If you want to establish favorable evidence for your case, what
points do you want to establish?
• Sequence topics
Put the topics in the order you will pursue them
with the witness. You must walk the line between making your points clear
enough for the decision maker to follow and telegraphing your goal to the
witness. At this stage you should also decide if and when you will use
• Write out questions
In a destructive cross, all of your questions
should be leading questions. Your questions should be short and plain with
one new fact per question.
• Anticipate objections
Anticipate any objections the judge or the
opposition may make. Develop responses to them.
• Use preparation forms in Trial &