Male lawyer examine civilian

Exhibits and Adverse Witnesses

Yesterday I was watching the Casey Anthony case and I saw a classic example of what you’d call an “antagonistic” witnesss. During opening statements, the defense attorney accused the defendant’s father of sexually molesting her when she was 8 years old and said that the father was involved in covering up the death of his…

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Asking for help… the right way

Every day, in courtrooms across the country, young attorneys are conducting brilliant examinations.  During direct examination, they’re asking questions that grab the factfinder’s attention, paint a vivid picture of the scene, and elicit facts that persuade judges and jurors to believe the witness’s version of events.  During cross-examination, they’re pinning witnesses down on inconsistencies, impeaching…

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How to Ask Leading Questions

During cross-examination, would you like to prevent witnesses from dodging your questions?  Would you like to tell a compelling story?  Do you want jurors to look to YOU for the answers during cross-examination?  If so, you need to develop your skill of asking leading questions. This past summer, I taught a Trial Advocacy class at…

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Avoiding Gunfights During Cross-Examination

If you were in the police academy, one of the most important things you would learn is how to keep safe when you’re out on the street.  To stay safe, you’d want to learn how to prevent verbal confrontations from escalating into physical fights, and how to prevent physical fights from escalating into knifefights or gunfights. …

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Cross-Examining Your Client: You Play Like You Practice

One of the most important pre-trial preparation steps you will undertake is getting your client ready for cross-examination.  You know that no matter how well you prepare the rest of your case, if your client falls apart during cross-examination, the case may be lost.  Yet despite its importance, many trial lawyers’ client cross-examinations preparations are…

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