Let’s pick up right where we left off with the 10 Commandments of cross-examining your boyfriend. (Click here for yesterday's installment.)
The Third Commandment: Thou Shall Take Baby Steps
Remember what mom always told you: patience is a virtue and cross-examination is no exception. With this technique, add one fact per question — a baby step. To start, don’t ask two questions in one. (Is the grass green and sky blue?) Get your mate to agree to each step.
You: You said you were going to the West Side Bar?
You: You said you were going to the West Side Bar at 9pm?
You: I went to the West Side Bar at 9pm and you weren’t there …
The rationale? Central to this process of understanding (and possibly discrediting) your boyfriend’s testimony is to catch nuances and weaknesses in his argument — in other words, listen. As obvious as it sounds, we often forget to do just this as we concentrate wholeheartedly on the next set of questions we’ve planned. By not listening, we miss an opportunity to support or refute evidence crucial to our case. Baby questions allow us to better listen and understand each answer.
The Fourth Commandment: Thou Shall Lead the Witness
This is the oldest rule in the law book. Leading questions allow the cross-examiner to gain control of the witness and the courtroom by allowing you to be forceful, knowledgeable and informative. How do you lead the witness? Simple. Ask yes or no styled questions to nudge the person you’re dealing with as opposed to more open-ended questions.
Open ended non-leading question: Where were you last night?
Leading question : You weren’t at the West Side Bar last night at 9 p.m.?
“Where were you?” gives him a chance to develop a story. “You weren’t at the West Side Bar” does not. It forces him to answer the question directly.
That said, cross-examination and asking simple yes-or-no questions can, in many circumstances, be useful to you. They are designed to confirm information that you know is likely true, allowing you maintain control to batter navigate the case.
Stay tuned for part III tomorrow.
• Read the series from the beginning! Click over for Day One's entry
• The 10 Commandments of Cross Examination
• Signs Your Boyfriend is Cheating on You
• How to tell if he's cheating
• Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life, by Lis Wiehl (Random House)
The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of foxnews.com, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.
• E-mail Lis With Your Legal Questions!
Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985.In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987.
Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It . ( Watch the Video ) and Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life
To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.