Once in a while, if the cross examine is persistent enough, a witness just loses his cool. The witness, pressed for information by a dogged cross examiner, becomes impatient and reveals that he is just not believable by answering a question defiantly and nonsensically. A killer cross examination can reveal a witness to be unhinged and unreliable.
In this case, a police officer was trying to fence and parry with me as I cross examined him. He was cagey, as thought he was trying to think too much about what the answers meant rather than just answer the questions. After hearing him testify that he called a uniformed officer to the scene for a “police presence”, I pressed him on the true meaning of that concept. I was trying to establish that my client was not free to leave and the police presence rendered him detained. Read along and watch for the officer losing it, i.e, becoming unhinged and offering up testimony that was defiant, blubber and nonsense.
The killer cross examination trapped the officer into the image of a “police presence” and after it was too late, he tried to argue, obfuscate and talk his way out of it. His answer to the strong police presence question was argumentative, meandering, rubbish, blubbering and nonsensical. It reads like he was babbling and it was only worse in person. He should have conceded the point but didn’t want to give us something valuable and helpful to our case.
This is an effective part of a cross examination — force the witness into a compromising position and force him to either concede the point with helpful testimony or testify as this officer did — nonsensically. This officer chose to argue further undermining his credibility.
Stay tuned for more killer cross examination segments as we have a whole new batch of transcripts to discuss and talk about.