Robert Higbee trial – May 11th, a few hours of Charlie Brown’s teacher
I’m not sure if it is the cameras or if these lawyers, like many others, like to hear themselves talk. I am of the Pozner and Dodd school of cross examination. So when I evaluate a cross examination, I think about what they would do.
I was rather surprised at Higbee’s attorney’s use of open-ended questions and compound questions that sometimes confused the witness on the stand. I also thought that his cross was a bit out of order as it took him a while to get into some important aspects. By that time, the jury may be asleep.
I think the Prosecutor did an even worse job on direct. I really don’t see where he was going except on and on with the first witness of the day (the first State Trooper on the scene). Again, after a few minutes of that, all the jury hears is Charlie Brown’s teacher.
You have only a few minutes to get the jury’s attention. This case is fairly simple. Was he reckless or was this an accident? There are only so many issues that need to be addressed. Thus, there is no reason for the first witness to be on the stand for several hours. At this rate, this trial will be going on forever. Asking less questions may yield better results.
I guess everyone has their own style, but mine is a quick, hard hitting cross examination that is very surgical. I also try to use inflection in my voice instead of a slow, monotone voice. I believe this helps the jury pay attention in numerous ways. After all, when we speak to each other, we have a lot of inflection in our voices.
I do want to point out that there is no one way to win a case. However, I do think that there is only one way to really cross a witness. Of course, I’ve never had a case thatwas featured live on national tv, so who knows how I would react under this situation huh? I’d like to think it would be no different. Emphasis on “like to think”.