Trial Techniques Philippines Pdf
According to at least one judge, most lawyers do a good job in their opening statements, direct examinations, and closing argument, but never learn the art of cross-examination. To master that art, lawyers need to give cross-examination the same attention they do other phases of trial. Jul 31, 2002 - The Trial Process: Law, Tactics and Ethics. This technique probably is more effective if the scene is simple than if the testimony will involve.
As a nonpracticing lawyer with a basic knowledge of trial technique, I am really perplexed and puzzled over how a reputedly talented veteran lawyer like Estelito Mendoza could have violated the simple cardinal rules of courtroom examination when he grilled Prosecution witness Emma Lim in the Impeachment Trial of President Estrada. How, in the world, could Mendoza, who was expected to completely demolish witness Lim, be such a big disappointment to his fans and admirers in the legal profession? * * * There is one commandment in cross-examination: Thou shalt not conduct a direct examination of a witness presented by the opposing party!
Strangely, Mendoza brushed aside this cardinal rule. During most parts of his cross-examination of Emma Lim, he virtually conducted a direct examination, instead of a cross-examination. In effect, obviously to the great delight of the Prosecution Panel, Mendoza of the Defense Panel elicited additional damaging facts from Lim. Mendoza thus heightened the credibility of the witness he was cross-examining. * * * There is another cardinal rule in cross-examination: Be prepared to ask only the necessary questions that will help in destroying the credibility of the witness. This rule Mendoza did not follow.
In his cross-examination, he flitted from one subject to another, hoping probably to find ways and means of demolishing the testimony of Lim. By appearing so unprepared, Mendoza failed to impeach the witness.
* * * The strategy adopted by good trial lawyers, when they are forced to cross-examine a witness but are unprepared to ask the proper questions, is to cut short the cross-examination. 'KISS' is the operative word: 'KEEP IT SHORT, SIR!'
This is also a basic rule in delivering speeches. 'KISS' otherwise your audience will fall asleep. * * * The opposite happened in the case of Mendozas cross-examination of Lim. He kept the audience, which numbered probably millions who followed the live television and radio coverage of the Impeachment Trial, really alive. And how the crowd roared with laughter when Mendoza made the tragic mistake of asking Lim whether she knew that j ueteng was illegal, that the handling of jueteng money was labag sa batas, that she, Emma Lim, could be charged as an accessory to a crime. * * * 'Alam ko po, pero sino naman po ako na para, kasi alam ko po naman na ang jueteng ay si Pangulong Estrada,' she answered. And it was this statement from Lim that both television and radio stations kept on playing and replaying, over and over again, the day after Emma Lims taming of the legal eagle known as Estelito Mendoza.
* * * The cardinal rule in cross-examination that was violated, in respect to this humorous portion of Mendozas grilling of witness Lim, is that the cross-exam must end in a high note. In other words, the cross-examiner, in the end, must be perceived to have prevailed over the witness being cross-examined. In this episode, Mendoza ended his cross-examination on the lowest note. And the deafening roar of laughter from the audience is probably going to hound him, long after the Impeachment Trial ends. * * * I would advice both the Prosecution and Defense Panels to watch highly-regarded trial lawyers in action. It is not sufficient merely to read the books about Perry Mason. Let the lawyers in this Impeachment Trial go to the courtrooms where excellent trial lawyers like Rogelio Vinluan, as I mentioned yesterday, are doing their cross-examination.
The Prosecution and Defense will learn much from these excellent trial lawyers, and apply what they learn in the ongoing Impeachment Trial. Had the Defense Panel, through Estelito Mendoza, done this, they would not have been forced to scamper away, with their tails hiding between their legs.
* * * Interviewed by mediamen for her comments, right after the testimony of Prosecution witness Emma Lim, Senator-Judge Tessie Aquino-Oreta said that Lim was 'well-rehearsed', hinting that Lims testimony was a product of the Prosecution Panels coaching. Aquino-Oretas observation seemed awry and out-of-tune. Because Lims cross-examination by Defense lawyer Mendoza could not have been 'rehearsed.'
This point Senator-Judge Oreta-Aquino completely missed.