Organizing the cross, part 2

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo
10-Nov-2007

While it may be tempting to cover all that the witness said during the direct examination, brevity is still the best policy. After setting down your objectives, concentrate on 3 most important points which will bring you closer to these objectives. These points must be the ones that you know the witness cannot deny, or you can make him admit to because of documents that are available to you, or those which, according to nature, probability and logic, are undeniable (unless he wants to look really stupid). Then plan your questions around them.

Most of the times, a long cross examination emasculates rather than strengthens, particularly when the points you are trying to make are either unsubstantial, or can easily be denied or explained away.

On the other hand, short but pointed cross examination are most effective in that they tend to be clearer and more memorable.

Plus, as a beginner, sticking with a short examination lessens the possibility of you committing legal suicide. More questions, more mistakes.