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The 10 Reasons For Cross-Examination

By G. Christopher Ritter

Most lawyers believe that cross-examinations serve only one purpose and can be delivered at only one speed. The following conversation illustrates this point (with only a bit of exaggeration):

Q: Why are you crossing this witness?
A: So that the TRUTH shall triumph!

Q: How are you going to do that?
A: [said with indignation] By beating the ever-living crap out of that guy.

Q: What will that prove?
A: [said with even more rightful indignation.] That he is a lying sack of sh*t!”

This is what is known in the industry as a “hostile cross.” In the right context, not only can a hostile cross-examination be effective, but it can also be fun. After all, the hostile cross is the form and style immortalized in the war stories lawyers tell after trial. Because of the movies, the hostile cross-examination is what lay persons imagine trial lawyers do; it is one of the secret reasons some people became trial lawyers. However, pause for a moment and read the exchange again. How effective woul

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