Singleton Schreiber Questions & Comments re Part One

Singleton Schreiber Questions & Comments re Part One

I hope you had the opportunity to carefully watch the three Part One videos. The principal teaching points/claims discussed in those videos are listed below (each numbered for your/my easy reference). Now, please allow me to “cross-examine” you. Your participation is voluntary, but, c’mon!!, play along for the benefit of all.*

Q#1: “You fully understand and fully agree with each of the #1 thru #16 teaching points/claims, right?”

A leading Q is used because I know the good-for-Robert answer, thus I encourage it. Of course, I can’t compel a “Yes” answer from you, but a non-“Yes” must confront easy-to-craft, risk-laden follow-up Qs, beginning with this non-leading, info-gathering, extremely-compound Q:

Q#2: “If you do not fully understand and fully agree with each of #1 thru #16, please identify EVERY teaching point/claim (you believe) was unclear … WRONG! … correct, but impractical … inconsistent with another teaching point/claim … overstated re its value to CE … or unethical … and state all your reasons.”

*An anonymous!! compilation of everyone’s comments – along with my non-anonymous responses – will be made available in a downloadable PDF during the live presentation of Part Two.

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  1. The logic of cross-examination never varies, whether the Q&A occurs in a criminal trial, a civil trial, a preliminary hearing, an administrative hearing, or a deposition.
  2. The “Mt. Rushmore” of deposition cross-examination teaching points:
    – Trial is argument.
    – Deposition is trial.
    – Thus, deposition is argument.
  3. The paramount goal of every Q, by every CE, in every depo, in every case, forever, should be to produce an answer that supports an argument favorable to CE’s case theory or unfavorable to OA’s case theory.
  4. Saving credibility attacks & arguments for surprise at trial is almost always WRONG!
  5. CE’s cross-examination goals:
    – damage W’s bad-for-CE claims
    – damage W’s credibility: “Blunderer” or “Deceiver!!!!”
    – damage other bad-for-CE evidence: witness, documents, real evidence
    – damage credibility/appeal of W’s sponsors: opposing party & OA
    – establish credibility/appeal of good-for-CE evidence
    – impress judge/jury with CE’s skill & demeanor
  6. W’s cross-examination goals:
    – defend W’s claims, while appearing cooperative
    – nicely concede CE’s points that W can’t fight
    – limit credibility damage: “My error was made in good faith & is narrow, so my error does not undermine the reliability of my other claims.”
    – be alert to CE trying to coax W into a trap
    – if clear proof of W’s deception: “sincerely” apologize … offer mitigation if plausible
  7. Deposition is CE’s laboratory:
    – to discover & memorialize W’s story
    – to almost always road-test CE’s attacks & arguments
    – to force W to answer: “Yes, CE, you have accurately restated the claim(s) I am making [i.e., the risks I am taking].
  8. CE should make abundant use of these techniques:
    – interrogatory-like Qs
    – universal terms
    – enumeration
    – looping
    – summary Qs
    – ranking w/reasons Qs
  9. Q&A clarity is the friend of CE; non-clarity the friend of adverse W & OA.
  10. Word-hawking is a crucial cross-examination skill, to wit:
    – defining what’s uncertain
    – inferring what’s implied
    – uncovering what’s hidden (especially a number)
    – detecting what’s dodged
    – identifying what’s inconsistent
    – exposing what’s illogical
  11. All the flaws in Bailey’s 15-Q line of attack vs. Fuhrman would have been fixed had he asked a tell-the-truth-or-one-hellava-clear-lie summary Q: “So, you’re saying that – from 3-15-85 until the moment you re-took the stand, 30 minutes ago – not even once, did the most vile word in the glorious history of American English ever come from your lips … whether you were engaged in a literary discussion about ‘Huckleberry Finn’ … or discussing a scene from ‘The Wire’ … or quoting someone you encountered as a policeman … or you meant to say the word ‘bigger’ and you accidentally misspoke its first letter, changing it from a ‘b’ to an ‘n,’ … or [THE CATCH-ALL] for any other reason whatsoever, right?”
  12. W’s deceptions:
    – LIE (CE always prefers W tell a big, fat, provable LIE)
    – actions meant to encourage a false belief
    – words meant to encourage a false belief
    – silence re info that contradicts a false-belief
    – not correcting a false claim by another person (ally?)
    – question-dodging: ignoring or changing Q’s terms; or “I don’t understand the Q, so I can’t give an A.”; or hiding a needle (truth?) in a haystack response
    – spoliation of a document, real evidence, or encouraging a case-related person to deceive
  13. A deception’s intended consequence determines its degree of evil, not the deception’s form.
  14. Argument: a group of statements (could be only 2), 1 of which – the conclusion – CE contends logically (or intuitively) flows from the other(s) & contends is worthy of the trier-of-fact’s consideration. Crafting arguments must not be confused with asking argumentative (i.e., objectionable) Qs.
  15. All the teaching points are stuff we shoulda been offered in law school, but weren’t. None of the teaching points are difficult to master … maybe by taking as few as 10 adverse depos. 
  16. In civil practice, it is the “competing” quality(?) of each side’s adverse depositions that most often most dramatically determines case outcome: settlement or trial.