Saturday, April 26, 2014
The blog Lawyerist has a post here in which Professor Lisa Needham (William Mitchell) has compiled what she feels are the best and worst examples of cross-examination from the movies and TV. The first three video clips in her post are the "good" examples followed by four "bad" ones. Perhaps some of our readers can make use of these in class. And please feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments below.
For my money, I've always thought the courtroom scene in "The Verdict" involving the questioning of nurse Costello was a great one. Paul Newman's minimalist approach to her direct examination which sets up James Mason's big mistake on cross when he asks Costello a question for which he didn't already know the answer and blows the case as a result. Until that moment, James Mason was master of courtroom examination with his understated approach to questioning the witnesses which was a nice (and more realistic) counterpoint to the usual onscreen courtroom histrionics. But if you're really looking for a (non-movie) video clip of great cross-examination to show your students, then look no further than the master himself, Irving Younger.