"Every trial lawyer needs some stock cross
examination questions to pull out of the bag. Try these."
"Here is a standard set of questions I've used in doing
cross-examinations in trials and depositions. Study them, and be ready to use them when an adverse
witness is in the witness chair. I put
them in my trial notebook and read them over before each trial."
Leonard Bucklin is a Fellow and a past Director of the International
Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Fellowship is by invitation only, and is limited to 500 trial
lawyers in the United States.
Standard Questions to Use Against Adverse
Witness, © Leonard Bucklin
you, but this text is copyrighted and should not be
reproduced for others.)
You can view or download
the complete set of
eight series of questions
Following are the first three series of these standard
series of questions.
# 1. WHEN THE ADVERSE WITNESS IS SLOW IN ANSWERING
[You want to rattle the witness into
answering faster, and also tell the jury to suspect the
witness because he is taking too long in answering to
really be telling the truth. Ask in quick succession.]
Are you thinking of the answer to give?
Did you hear the question?
Did you understand the question?
Are you trying to think of the best
answer to give?
Don=t you want to answer the question?
# 2. CROSS EXAMINATION ON DISCREPANCY FROM
Were you examined under oath on (date)
Your attorney was present? Court
Sworn to tell the truth? Your attorney
had prepared you for the depositions?
showing you a copy of your testimony, and I'm going to read a question from your deposition and the answer.
[You then read aloud to the jury and to
the witness the question and answer.]
Contrary to the thinking of
many attorneys and judges, you do not have to have court
first admit the deposition Q&A into evidence, and certainly
any thinking adversary attorney will not want to object and
make a "big deal" out of the Q&A when it is received into
evidence. However, should the court insist upon it, you can
first offer the question and answer into evidence as an
"admission" under the evidence rule regarding exceptions to
the hearsay rule. Then after the Q&A is admitted into
evidence, return to reading aloud to the jury and to the
witness the question and answer.]
[Then, do NOT ask yet whether the answer
was true, instead ask the following.]
Did I read that correctly?
[Optionally, at this point you can turn to the
judge and offer the question and answer into evidence as an
admission under the evidence rule regarding exceptions to the
[Continue by asking the following questions.
Insist on "yes" or "no" answers.]
I=m showing you
the signature page. Is that your signature, saying the
deposition was true?
Is your memory of the accident better today than it was on
[date of deposition]?
Let me read that question and answer back to you. Listen to
it carefully, and then I will ask you a question about your
answer [read question and answer]
Was that answer true when you gave it?
ANYTIME YOU WANT TO EMPHASIZE WRITTEN
[Read the written material aloud to the witness,
carefully, slowly, so all the jurors hear it. Then
ask the witness the following.]
Did I read that correctly?
View the complete set of
eight series of questions, or download these standard cross-examination questions, into your computer in PDF format,
for you to edit and print out from your own
Copyright, Leonard H. Bucklin,
1992 to 2010