The Champion

June 2016 , Page 46 

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Cross-Examination Principles

By Richard S. Jaffe

The art and science of cross-examination requires skill and cunning, patience and restraint, active listening and keen intuition, and most importantly, thorough preparation and a mastery of the fundamentals. It sounds like a lot; well, it is. To observe an ineffective cross-examination is painful, like watching a comedian fumbling his lines. But to observe a masterful one is symphonic, sometimes appreciated even by the witness, and certainly by the fact finder.

Over the ages, lawyers have written countless volumes of books, treatises and articles on the techniques of effective cross-examination.1 Like any essential skill set, effective cross-examination is, at its heart, a test both of the witness and the lawyer. Although it is combat, it does not have to be combative, yet at times it can and should be. Lawyers are testing the validity of the witness and/or the content of the testimony with every question. Thus, questions should not be wasted. Each should have a pur

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