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quately, the system allows for rapid preparation of cross-examination questions
topics without too much effort or stress.
Written in plain and simple language, the book’s main premise is that
excellent cross-examination requires control of the witness and maintenance
of counsel’s credibility. Control is brought about primarily through
the cross-examiner’s self-control and the use of leading questions. It also
relies on the principles of behaviour modification offered by B.F. Skinner. A
feeling of control reduces anxiety considerably, while it has an opposite
impact upon an adversarial witness. Positive reinforcement is given to any
witness providing a “yes” answer. Negative reinforcement is given to any
witness providing a “no” answer. With strict adherence to the facts, credibility
of the cross-examiner is always maintained. With both credibility and
control established, the cross-examiner is in the best position to meet the
goal of cross-examination: to teach the trier of fact the client’s story. Control
assures the best facts come out. Credibility of the cross-examiner helps the
trier of fact to best accept these facts.
In stressing the fundamental teaching aspect of cross-examinations, the
authors dispel the notion that cross-examination is an ego contest between
lawyer and witness. And its purpose is not to engage in intellectual or emotional
combat with the witness. This takes the pressure off of the crossexaminer.
The goal is simply to teach the fact finder the client’s story, with
the most specific and accurate words possible, with the fewest distractions.
The book’s layout makes it a handy reference. There are numerous crossreferences
to related subjects sprinkled throughout the book. The table of
contents is very detailed and clearly organized. This makes the first and any
subsequent readings that much easier. Barry Scheck writes in the foreword
to the third edition that he uses it as a reference book when preparing for
any major criminal cross-examination. He acknowledges that the authors
have fundamentally changed the pedagogy of Professor Younger’s commandments.
Over and above the chapter method and three rules for cross-examination,
there are numerous other topics outlined in the book to augment the system,
1. recognizing and controlling bait;
2. basic steps of impeachment; and
3. advanced impeachment techniques.
Litigators are frequently harried by stress. This stress arises from the perceived
demands of litigators in the courtroom. When disputes between individuals
were removed from the dueling grounds to the “civilized” battlefield