91) A woman witness is ofttimes death to the cross-examiner.
It is only the obvious vixen who stands on almost an equal basis with men when facing the cross-examiner.
Any display of a lack of such chivalry, it has been felt, will inflame the jurors to a point where they will judge the cross-examiner a brute and find against his client.
Tears are the most frequently cited examples of emotional display: "There is ever present the possibility of the witness' resorting to tears" (Goldstein 1935, 506; 1984, ch 19, 35); "And, of course, as a last resort, she can always cry if the cross-examiner is too rough with her" (Heller 303); "the drama of her plea, the tears, the swoon, the natural inclination of men may be swayed" (Gillen 53); "if a woman starts to sniffle, it is well to state an exception into the record" (Appleman, Cross 32); "And there are other ways to handle the weeper" (Appleman, Preparation 305).
Ideally, the expert whose throat is cut does not even know it, but the cross-examiner must.
The cross-examiner must stay out of their reach, challenge them mainly at the margins, and frontally attack them only when there is clearly both an opening to strike and a way to escape.
With these advantages, the cross-examiner can disarm and discredit even the ringwise expert.
The choice may be illusory in light of the terrain, which the cross-examiner sees but the jury does not, extending over the horizon.
It may be worth the risk to keep a tight leash on an expert whom the cross-examiner otherwise cannot or the court will not control.
Like a quarterback in football or point guard in basketball, the cross-examiner must view the entire field of play, must know the position and potential contribution of every witness and item of evidence playing a role in the case.
Indeed, a skillful cross-examiner
will convey not only that the witness (and you) only touched superficially on impeachment on direct, but that the witness (and you) intentionally suppressed the most damning elements.
Rather, the cross-examiner must understand the subject matter, the witness, and the jury's relationship to that witness, and must have the instinct to discover the weak points in the testimony under examination.
To the extent admissions can be gained about the validity of the facts used by the plaintiff's reconstructionist, the cross-examiner has ratified important aspects of the plaintiffs case.
In all cases, however, the cross-examiner should prepare carefully, employ logical thought, and exercise selfcontrol.
The best cross-examiners
employ a range of demeanors--self-deprecating and understated, courteous and professional, firm and aggressive, and sarcastic.