In law, cross-examination is the interrogation of a witness called by one's opponent. It is preceded by direct examination and may be followed by a redirect.
In the United States, the cross-examining attorney is typically not permitted to ask questions which do not pertain to the facts revealed in direct examination. This is called going beyond the scope of the direct examination. Unlike in direct examinations, however, leading questions are typically permitted in a cross-examination, since the witness is presumed to be sympathetic to the opposing side.
In some formats used for structured debate, cross-examination is normally a three minute period in which the opposing team questions the case of the team directly after their eight minute speech. The purpose of this time is to clarify information, try to get the opposing team to make extreme comments, or not be able to answer. During policy debate there are four cross examination periods, one after each of the first four speeches.
If, during direct examination, you determine that cross-examination is necessary, conduct a quick damage assessment from the perspective of the jury--keeping clearly in focus that the jurors are the sole judges of factual disputes, the credibility of the witnesses, and the amount of damages to be awarded.
Those examiners who do not seek to enlist the aid of the court in dealing with the problem witness and allow the witness to be unresponsive or evasive believe that the jurors will be able to detect the witness's lack of cooperation and candor and will draw their own adverse conclusions about the witness.
Counsel, with her face buried in a legal pad taking notes during direct examination of the opponent's witness, is missing many important elements of the case, including the witness's demeanor, opposing counsel's histrionics, the judge's body language, and the jury's reactions to the entire scenario.
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