Lead to control

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

Control of witness during cross-examination is so important that the most basic advice is to not lose it. Control is maintained when only close and leading questions (or most of them at least) are asked so that the witness is limited to answering only either yes or no.

How to lead? Beginners usually do it by prefixing their questions with "is it fair to say that …" or, "is it correct to say that …" But the shortest and easiest way is for the examiner is to just state what he wants the witness to say. Then, to make it a question, he just adds variations of "correct", "true", "right", etc. For instance, "you read your affidavit before you signed it, correct?"

With practice, the examiner will eventually gain sophistication. He just makes the statement then raises the inflection of his voice at the end. Since he is expected to ask questions, the court stenographer instinctively adds a question mark at the end of his statement. Example: "you read your affidavit before you signed it?" "You understood it?" "You did not protest?" "You received the payment?"

Notice that the questions become more pointedly effective, as if on cadence, when they are asked this way.