Craig Ball's Ten Commandments of Demonstrative Evidence

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When I was in law school, I came across a series of audio tapes created by the late Judge Irving Younger, entitled "The Ten Commandments of Cross Examination."  It was wonderful.  The commandments Judge Younger laid out, and his examples of exceptions to those commandments stay with me to this day.  They are:
  1. Be brief.
  2. Short questions, plain words.
  3. Nothing but leading questions.
  4. Never ask a question to which you don't already know the answer.
  5. Listen to the answer.
  6. Don't quarrel with the witness.
  7. Never permit the witness to explain.
  8. Don't give the witness an opportunity to repeat his story.
  9. Avoid the one question too many.
  10. Save the ultimate point for summation.

If you can't find the entertaining audio or video tapes, you can still get the benefit of Judge Younger's wisdom in Younger, A Letter in Which Cicero Lays Down the Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination, LITIGATION, Vol. 3, No. 2, at 18 (Winter 1972).

Judge Younger's commandments were geared toward neophyte litigators and he was quick to point out that the trial masters were not shy about ignoring the commandments to good effect.

My "Ten Commandments of Demonstrative Evidence" are offered as a tribute to Judge Younger's work, and like his commandments, once mastered, these rules can be broken by those skilled enough to make the exception work better than the rule.

Craig Ball

Law Office of Craig D. Ball, P.C.
6363 Woodway, Suite 710
Houston, Texas 77057