Cross-Exam: Chapter 7

Witness statement charts are extremely useful in finding all inconsistencies.

Cross-examination is not solely or primarily about attacking the witness’s story.

Cross-examination is an opportunity to build cross-examiner’s theory of the case using witnesses called by an opponent.

If cross-examiner intends to challenge the credibility of a witness, impeachment as to his background is effective.  The lawyer can chart what the witness has said about himself, his jobs, personal background, educational accomplishments, and other historical data.

A witness statement or criss-cross chart is a method of quickly comparing all versions of an event as related by a single witness.

Witness statement charts allow the cross-examiner to draft leading questions whose answers are well documented and can be sourced.

Create identical formatted pages for limited source material.

Use non-formatted pages when many sources will need to be displayed.  The lawyer should ordinarily display all of the witness’s statements in chronological order.

Occasionally, a witness will tell the same story but will change the order in which events occurred.  This form of inconsistency is as useful in impeachment as an internal inconsistency.

Witness statement charts are extremely helpful in spotting external inconsistencies – inconsistencies between the statement of one witness and the statement of another witness on the same topic.

It is not necessary to create full witness statement charts for every witness.  Another type of inconsistent statement the charts can reveal is an external inconsistency when a witness takes the position that is contradicted by physical evidence or by a document.


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