Category: Cross-Examination

Irving Younger’s Ungodly Ten Commandments

Lawyers seem unable to master the art of cross-examination. I hold Wigmore responsible for this failure by boldly proclaiming that: “Cross examination is the greatest engine for ascertaining truth.” Perhaps in some alternate universe, but not this one. The engine works better in theory than practice. This lawyer ineptitude explains why Irving Younger’s lectures on cross-examination were so popular in the ’70s and ’80s and lives on in videotape.

READ MORE

One Question Too Many

We are all aware of the dreaded “one question too many.” It is the hubris of the trial lawyer going in for the kill and instead being killed.

READ MORE

Cross Examining McQueary: Part 2

Since my last post on McQueary, Joe Paterno gave a press interview to Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post. According to the reporter, Paterno said that McQueary sat at Paterno’s kitchen table and told him about hearing noises coming from the shower late the evening before. “He was very upset and I asked why, and he was very reluctant to get into it. He told me what he saw, and I said, what? He said it, well, looked inappropriate, or fondling, I’m not quite sure exactly how he put it.” He went on to say that McQueary was unclear about the nature of what he saw.

READ MORE

Cross-Examining McQueary

It is comparatively easy to cross-examine the cooperating witness. One who is involved with the conspiracy. Who committed crimes. One with a substantial history of crimes, deception and dishonesty. Who has cheated and defrauded regular people like the jurors. The jury has little sympathy for them, and cheers on your exposure of his ugly character defects.

READ MORE

Cross-examining the Cooperating Witness (Part 1)

As some of you know, I like to have concrete examples to use in illustrating and discussing the arts of trial advocacy. I don’t think anyone can learn them from abstract lectures. So when I come across a good example, it gets me motivated. A beautiful set of examples of cross-examining the cooperating witness comes from the New York State trial of James W. Marguilies, an Ohio lawyer indicted for a pump and dump scheme.

READ MORE

Conrad Murray: The Prosecution Blunders

It is the self-inflicted wounds that hurt the most. All trial lawyers are at times confronted by evidence they can not discredit and have to live with the resulting damage. We expect that, but when we do it to ourselves we writhe in anguish, relentlessly second-guessing our tactics. This weekend prosecutor David Walgren is residing in professional purgatory.

READ MORE

Conrad Murray: Cross-Examination

Dr. Murray’s attorneys made a bold move in their opening argument by promising the jury they would prove that Michael Jackson self-administered lethal doses of Propofol and Lorazepam. The linchpin of the defense, at least as set out in the opening argument, is that Jackson killed himself by taking the drugs when Murray left the room. Prosecutors contend Murray used a drip bag as an IV to administer the Propofol to Jackson; the defense counters Murray gave Jackson only 25 ml of Propofol via syringe and he took the rest on his own.

READ MORE

Cross Examination Under Control

One reason, among many, why I love our adversary system of justice is that it gives us one public place where we can rationally and politely debate very serious matters. What could be more serious than decisions that affect a person’s wealth, business, family, freedom and even their very life? Imagine a trial where the state is seeking custody of your child? Yet generally speaking we do so in a calm and respectful way. When we fail this rule we risk disaster.

READ MORE

The High-Tech Lynching of Barry Bonds

Imagine your worst nightmare. An ex-lover testifying in open court, with all the salacious details spread around the world, that you transformed yourself into a genetically engineered replicant who was violent, impotent, and testicularly challenged, while your mother and family are sitting right behind you. I think I would rather plead guilty than suffer this […]

READ MORE

Clients

I have a confession to make: some of my best ideas have come from clients. This shouldn’t be a shock since who knows the case better than the client? Yet lawyers seem to overlook this potentially wonderful asset. I classify it as potential because not every client can or wants to fully cooperate with their […]

READ MORE