I have an interesting criminal law topic for you today. It’s how do I cross examine at a domestic assault trial? Well, first and foremost, what happens is there’s usually a video statement that the victim or alleged complainant has and we need to reduce that to a transcript. And then we need to summarize that index by index.
So like 100 Page transcript needs to be reduced by 10 pages and you need to memorize that you need to know that perfectly. And what I do at the trial is, number one, I want to hit them early and often with the best material I learned early in my career, do not wait you need to hit them with the best material you have.
If a prior inconsistent statement develops between what they say at the trial, and what they say in their statement, you need to cross examine that that’s one of the most telling effects on their believability and reliability. I want to talk about alcohol use, gaps in their memory, what they remember and don’t remember show that they have memory problems. I want to confront them with any improbabilities or things that don’t make sense in their statement. And I need to order this cross very, very carefully, methodically. There’s a lot of techniques to do this. I won’t get into it.
One of them is the skip around technique where you’re trying to skip topics and create some element of confusion, get them out of sequence. If I’m making some hay with them, I’ll then kind of go through their version of events to show that their sequence or memory is not good as well. We’re trying to keep memory problems, improbabilities, inconsistencies and just general lack of credibility and reliability.
A very important thing which we always don’t have, but having many domestic assaults is we can show a motive to lie which is a powerful thing to create a reasonable doubt. For example, maybe there’s a custody dispute in which they have a dispute over children and that’s a good way to control the custody spirit or divorce proceedings or get the husband or wife I represented women too charged with domestic assault booted out of the house because that’s a way to control the proceedings. So when you couple all these techniques, the goal is ultimately to create a reasonable doubt, ultimately, to show they’re not a credible and reliable witness. And the bottom line is you have to be totally organized. You have to have absolute perfect command and the facts show the witness you have perfect command of the facts and also use leading and clever questions to lead them down a garden path where they don’t see what’s coming.
And that’s, I mean, it takes years to get these techniques. I would say, honestly it takes at least five years to become reasonably proficient at cross examination about 10 years to become good at it. It’s hard to progress it, you got to keep working. The learning curve probably falls after 10 years. I hope I’m still creeping along after 33 combined. So that’s what I find. I find lawyers are really get towards the better game at 10 years and they can creep up there with a lot of hard work paths here. But that’s the basic technique of how to win these cases. And I got to share with you motives to lie are powerful but all those other issues are powerful, and you’re ultimately able if you’re able to put the package together and bring it on a given day properly, create a reasonable doubt and win your clients case.