As trial lawyers, we routinely cross examine police officers. Some officers have been questioned before and will gladly give us the response that we want. Its easy to quickly go through the cross examination and loss its full impact with the jury.
One of the best CD I have listened to is from John Maxwell, Everyone Communicates and Few Connect. In his lecture, he discusses how an actor performs the same play nightly and that every audience deserves a first time performance.
How do we make sure that a jury get the trial as if it were our 1st Trial, first time cross examining a police officer?
This is a challenge but I would like to share a few thoughts on this:
- I think one of the more important parts of preparation for a trial is to rehearse out loud. No one likes to do this, but it really has a major benefit as you will generally come up with new ideas when practicing out loud.
- I have some trials I commonly watch to motive me and get me ready for trial. Some of my favorite closing arguments include, Mark O’Mara’s Closing argument in the George Zimmerman case, both defense closing arguments in the OJ Simpson Trial.
- In addition to preparing mentally, I try to find ways to appeal to the emotion of the jury. I think of what gut emotional reaction would the jury have to the case, the evidence or my client that I can try to make part of my argument or cross examination.
When preparing for trial and during cross examination, it is important to stay in the moment, like you have never heard the answer to the questions you are asking the officer. This month I plan to organize a group of lawyers locally to meet and practice arguments for upcoming cases. I think a small virtual group could also be an effective idea. If you wish to talk about trial practice, feel free to contact me on Twitter or other social media.