- Paperback: 218 pages
- Publisher: American Bar Association (November 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590318862
- ISBN-13: 978-1590318867
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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MacCarthy on Cross Examination
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About the Author
Terence F. MacCarthy, Esquire graduated at the top of his class from St. Joseph's College in 1955. After serving as a Lieutenant in the Marines, he attended law school at DePaul, graduating again in the top ten percent of his class in 1960. Since 1966, he has been the Executive Director of the Federal Defender Programme in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He was selected for the position by the judges of the District Court and the deans of the six Chicago law schools.
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Top customer reviews
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The author is also very condescending to witnesses referring to them as `puppies' who need to be disciplined. He's whole demeanor turned me off. You can keep this book and this author's lousy attitude.
MacCarthy takes away the mystery of cross examination by showing how lawyers should trim their leading questions declarative statements, similar to propositions in a true-or-false test from middle school.
MacCarthy also debunks the myth of the genius cross-examiner who dazzles the jury with no apparent preparation. For most of us, cross examination takes hard work and careful planning, although we can still have fun doing it.
MacCarthy advocates not asking "questions," but instead using short statements, one fact at a time to give you control of the witness and then making those statements into a story you tell the jury about your case. Every cross examiner worries about losing control of witnesses on the stand, but MacCarthy sets you at ease by giving you an easy way to do it (short, statements) and letting you in on a little secret-- namely, that, under this approach, the cross examiner actually wants witnesses to fight him for control. According to MacCarthy, when a witness gets evasive about answering a short, simple, single fact "question," the witness ends up looking bad for not answering the question. MacCarthy recommends ways of dealing with this that draw the jury's attention to the witnesses bad and unreasonable behavior. The approach is exceedingly simple to use once you've tried it in court a few times, and, while it won't turn you into F. Lee Bailey, it will make you a good, competent cross examiner.
It's worth noting that most of the material in the book is available on YouTube as a seven part lecture MacCarthy gave at Stetson Law School. I recommend watching the videos if you have the time (each part is at least an hour). MacCarthy is a great, albeit loquacious, teacher and raconteur, and you can only benefit from watching him demonstrate his techniques. I would still recommend buying the book, however, since it is always nice to have something you can refer to in your hands with an index, et cetera.
One final note, MacCarthy makes reference in the book to writing a follow up volume on impeachment. He hasn't done it yet, but the YouTube videos do cover it and you can find MacCarthy's impeachment CLE materials online if you search "MacCarthy Impeachment: Weapons of Mass Destruction."
Long story short - my client was looking at a potential life sentence. After the jury had been out over 3 hours, the DA offered a plea deal - 3 yrs deferred adjudication. I believe using MacCarthy's techniques achieved one of his primary goals - for the lawyer to "look good." And the witnesses to "look bad."
The only reason I'm not giving this book five stars is that I hate the metaphor that the author uses of "punishing the puppy," hitting it on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. I'm a dog lover and I cringe every time I read that. I hope in future editions he'll come up with another metaphor.
Most recent customer reviews
(1) MacCarthy's approach to cross-examination is practical and it makes sense!Read more