Cross examination creates dramatic tension in the courtroom.
It is the high point of any witness's testimony.
TV dramas and movies show cross examination as being the focal point culminating in the search for the truth.
When done properly, cross examination can be extremely effective in showing that a witness is being less than truthful, or to put it another way, is lying.
The movies portray trial lawyers who conduct cross examination as being overbearing and often angry.
Real lawyers are often surprised when experienced trial attorneys are not angry during cross examination.
Many trial attorneys show no righteous indignation when they question an opposing witness.
Are there opportunities for a trial attorney to cross-examine a witness and not be angry?
The answer is yes.
However, it's important to have a clear strategy about what information you are trying to obtain from this adverse witness.
Are you trying to get this witness to bolster your own claim?
Are you trying to get this witness to admit he did something wrong?
Are you trying to get this witness to recognize someone else may be responsible for having caused this injury?
Is this person elderly? Are they very young?
If an attorney adopts a one-size-fits-all method of cross-examination, he will encounter many challenges.
An attorney who is always angry and screaming on cross-examination fails to appreciate the subtleties associated with different trial strategies and different witnesses.
There are some witnesses who need kid gloves since they are extremely sympathetic.
Others have to be disclosed to the jury as simply not credible.