Cross-Exam: Chapter 6

In a pretrial preparation system the cross-examiner must evaluate and break down each event in substantial detail.

The breakdown should be chronological.

The cross-exam itself should be performed in a favorable sequence.

A cross-examination preparation system should adequately equip the lawyer to understand the interrelationship of the facts of the case.

Sequence of events charts are useful in preparation.

The type of case most susceptible to a sequence of events analysis involves the testimony of multiple witnesses examining a single event.

There are three parts to this type of organization.

1. Adopt a preliminary chart breaking the case into the sequence of important events

2. Break down each portion of each event on the topic page system

3. Chart each witness’ observations within the topics that make up each event sequence.

Reduce events into topic pages in the same way that hard-edged facts are separately tracked.

Your goal should be to understand the time and motion of the event and to assemble it before a jury in such a way to show the justification for the defendant’ ultimate actions.

Of equal and sometimes greater importance is that non-testimonial evidence will “say” about a particular fact.  Look for the presence of lack of presence of evidence.

Although bad facts are not going to disappear, much of the sting may be taken out of them by grouping and de-emphasizing bad events.

The ability to conduct a precise cross-examination is lost though generalized charts.  The lawyer cannot control the witness since the lawyer is not in control of the facts.

A good system should work as well in a large case as in a small case.

When building a sequence of events charts tracking the testimony of multiple witnesses begin with a picture of the end product desired.  View of event in chronological order so that you can immediately see what every witness has said about each important event.

Case summary should be built one witness at a time and one document at a time.

It is through this careful analysis that fast moving events can be slowed down so that careful, detailed analysis can be made.  Then the cross-examiner can consciously and intelligently make decision as to what events will be emphasized and what events will be de-emphasized for the jury.


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Filed under Cross-Examination: Science and Techniques by Pozner & Dodd

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