In his foreword to the book "Your Witness: Lessons on Cross-Examination and Life from Great Chicago Trial Lawyers," Scott Turow gives a quick list of the "essential rules" of cross-examination.
Here's the list, quoting Turow--
- Never ask a question to which you do not know the answer--unless it doesn't matter, or you have nowhere else to go.
- Always listen to a witness's answer before asking your next question.
- Never ask the one question too many that will allow the witness to explain away a damaging answer he's already given.
- Forget Perry Mason. The purpose of cross is not to win the trial at once, so much as lay the foundation for closing argument, or for the testimony of other witnesses.
- Know when you've accomplished enough and sit down.
It's a good, quick summary of the key goals to which all cross-examiners should aspire.