WHY IS THE CONCEPT OF CROSS EXAMINATION SO IMPORTANT IN A CRIMINAL CASE IN LOS ANGELES?
In my opinion, the ability to effectively cross examine a witness is probably one of the most powerful weapons a criminal defense attorney carries in his or her arsenal. If an attorney can take a witness to task in a hearing, then the prosecutor must respect that attorney’s ability to defend his or her client and treat them in a fair manner. If on the other hand, an attorney is not great at the art of cross examination, the prosecutor really has nothing to fear if he or she treats the defendant in a harsh matter. In other words, if the attorney has no bite behind his words, then they are meaningless! I have spent many hours cross examining witnesses and watching other attorneys and judges do the same. One thing an effective cross examiner has that makes them successful is an in depth knowledge of the case and the client’s strongest arguments.
Not everyone has the talent to really do damage to the prosecutor’s case through cross examination. It is a talent that can be taught to some degree, but it is also something that the person must have a knack for and have many years of experience behind them to be most effective. Witnesses do not like to be asked questions in a forceful manner and many times will try and embarrass the cross examiner or even avoid answering their question or even out right lie in the cross examiner’s face and dare them to do something about it. This is when the weak question asking attorney will fall apart and not know what to do. The powerful advocate will have already assumed that the witness was going to try one of the typical tricks and be ready to box them in, attack their credibility and will not let them off the hook until they give the answer to the question that the defense attorney must have to get the result for the client!
WHAT IS THE ART OF CROSS EXAMINATION ALL ABOUT?
Cross examination has to do with asking questions of a witness who is typically hostile to your position in a criminal case. You are permitted to ask leading questions and the best cross examiners usually know the answers to every question that they ask. They are trying to lead a witness down a path that best serves their argument and their client’s position in the case. I here all the time judges saying to juries that the questions that the attorneys are asking is not evidence. This of course usually turns out to be dead wrong. If an attorney asks a witness a question on cross examination and the witness agrees to the contents of the question, then the question then becomes evidence and can be used in the closing argument to try and win the case.
I have been a student of cross examination for 25 years now and have loved every minute of it! It is one of my favorite things to do in the representation of my clients and it is what gives me juice in the morning to get up and go and enjoy my day. I have seen some of the best attorneys and judges in the world ask questions of a witness that either made or broke a particular case and I would like to think that I have done the same for my clients. I encourage you to come and discuss your case with me so we can evaluate whether your case is one that should be litigated or resolved. If it is one that we are going to fight, I will give you some examples of how we can begin to dismantled the prosecutor’s case by way of effective cross examination. For immediate help call us at (866) 986-2092 or fill out contact form to schedule your free face to face consultation.