cross-examination


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Related to cross-examination: direct examination

Cross-Examination

The questioning of a witness or party during a trial, hearing, or deposition by the party opposing the one who asked the person to testify in order to evaluate the truth of that person's testimony, to develop the testimony further, or to accomplish any other objective. The interrogation of a witness or party by the party opposed to the one who called the witness or party, upon a subject raised during direct examination—the initial questioning of a witness or party—on the merits of that testimony.

The scope of cross-examination is generally restricted to matters covered during direct examination.

cross-examination

n. the opportunity for the attorney (or an unrepresented party) to ask questions in court of a witness who has testified in a trial on behalf of the opposing party. The questions on cross-examination are limited to the subjects covered in the direct examination of the witness, but importantly, the attorney may ask leading questions, in which he/she is allowed to suggest answers or put words in the witness' mouth. (For example, "Isn't it true that you told Mrs. Jones she had done nothing wrong?" which is leading, as compared to "Did you say anything to Mrs. Jones?) A strong cross-examination (often called just "cross" by lawyers and judges) can force contradictions, expressions of doubts, or even complete obliteration of a witness' prior carefully-rehearsed testimony. On the other hand, repetition of a witness' story, vehemently defended, can strengthen his/her credibility. (See: testimony, trial, direct examination, witness, credibility)

cross-examination

in court practice, the part of a case, whether civil or criminal, where evidence is elicited from the other side's witness. Thus, the defence will cross-examine the investigating police officers after the prosecutor has conducted the examination in chief It serves two functions:
  1. (1) to test the veracity of the witness and the accuracy of the evidence;
  2. (2) to obtain evidence on points on which he has not been questioned in chief and which may support the cross-examiner's case. Failure to cross-examine on any matter generally implies acceptance of evidence on that point.

CROSS-EXAMINATION, practice. The examination of a witness, by the party who did not call him, upon matters to which he has been examined in chief.
     2. Every party has a right to cross-examine a witness produced by his antagonist, in order to test whether the witness has the knowledge of the things he testifies and if, upon examination, it is found that the witness had the means and ability to ascertain the facts about which he testifies, then his memory, his motives, everything may be scrutinized by the cross- examination.
    3. In cross-examinations a great latitude is allowed in the mode of putting questions, and the counsel may put leading questions. (q.v.) Vide further on this subject, and for some rules which limit the abuse of this right, 1 Stark. Ev,. 96; 1 Phil. Ev. 210; 6 Watts & Serg. 75.
     4. The object of a cross-examination is to sift the evidence, and try the credibility of a witness who has been called and given evidence in chief. It is one of the principal tests which the law has devised for the ascertainment of truth, and it is certainly one of the most efficacious. By this means the situation of the witness, with respect to the parties and the subject of litigation, his interest, his motives, his inclinations and his prejudices, his means of obtaining a correct and certain knowledge of the facts to which he testifies the manner in which he has used those means, his powers of discerning the facts in the first instance, and of his capacity in retaining and describing them, are fully investigated and ascertained. The witness, however artful he may be, will seldom be able to elude the keen perception of an intelligent court or jury, unless indeed his story be founded on truth. When false, he will be liable to detection at every step. 1 Stark. Ev. 96; 1 Phil. Ev. 227; Fortese. Rep. Pref. 2 to 4; Vaugh. R. 143.
     5. In order to entitle a party to a cross-examination, the witness must have been sworn and examined; for, even if the witness be asked a question in chief, yet if he make no answer, the opponent has no right to cross- examine. 1 Cr. M. & Ros. 95; 1 16 S. & R. 77; Rosc. Cr. Ev. 128; 3 Car. & P. 16; S. C. 14 E. C. L. Rep. 189; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3217. Formerly, however, the rule seems to have been different. 1 Phil. Ev. 211.
     6. A cross-examination of a witness is not always necessary or advisable. A witness tells the truth wholly or partially, or he tells a falsehood. If he tells the whole truth, a cross-examination may have the effect of rendering his testimony more circumstantial, and impressing the jury with a stronger opinion of its truth. If he tells only a part of the truth, and the part omitted is favorable to the client of the counsel cross- examining, he should direct the attention of the witness to the matters omitted. If the testimony of the witness be false, the whole force of the cross-examination should be directed to his credibility. This is done by questioning him as to his means of knowledge, his disinterestedness, and other matters calculated to show a want of integrity or veracity, if there is reason to believe the witness prejudiced, partial, or willfully dishonest. Arch. Crim. Pl. 111. See Credible Witness.

References in periodicals archive ?
Her proposals for legislative amendments would give sexual violence complainants the right to give all their evidence in alternative ways, including by pre-recorded cross-examination. Defence counsel would be able to challenge the elected way of giving evidence, and the trial judge would determine the way evidence is to be given.
The counsel responded that statements are recorded and cross-examination of witnesses is done on the same day according to the law.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked what Ali Zafar's main objection to Meesha Shafi's request was, to which his lawyer responded that according to the law, statements are recorded and cross-examination of witnesses was done on the same day.
Haris responded saying that the style of cross-examination is not dependant on the wishes of others.The prosecution and defence then got engaged in a loud and vocal dispute.
Le Fraper du Hellen anticipated that she would complete her cross-examination Tuesday, after which the defense for Salim Ayyash, another of the accused, would begin its cross-examination.
Dodd, an accomplished attorney and author of several books on cross-examination techniques, said Wellman's core concepts are still valued as an important guide for attorneys to become better cross-examiners.
A perfectly conceived cross-examination may result in the expert answering "yes" 20 or 30 consecutive times and then leaving the witness stand.
Crown Courts in Leeds, Liverpool and Kingstonupon-Thames - are testing pre-trial cross-examination.
Suggestions are offered on lawyer demeanor during cross-examination and the manner in which emerging information should be handled in order to maximize its potential for admissibility at trial.
Cross-examination, celebrated and glorified, is the favorite of trial seminars.
[A central feature of the Australian court system is the use of cross-examination as the main means by which eyewitness evidence is tested The ability to test evidence by cross-examination has come to be viewed as a right of an accused.
James Publishing (Costa Mesa, CA) this month released "Innovative DUI Trial Tools," a new loose-leaf publication that provides "creative" evidence, forms, arguments and cross-examination questions for defense attorneys involved in DUI cases.