Monday, November 14, 2011

LESSONS FROM MICHAEL JACKSON’S DOCTOR TRIAL


Build Your Case on Cross-Examination

In the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor, the defense called Dr. Paul White to testify, among other things, that Jackson self medicated with his own stash of propofol thereby causing his own death. Prosecutor David Walgren (on right in picture) relied on concession-seeking cross-examination to build his case against Dr. Conrad. Walgren asked questions to which he knew the defense expert had to answer in a manner favorable to the prosecution. They included:

"Do you agree that there are instances where Dr Murray deviated from the standards of care in his treatment of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009?"

"And would you agree that there were instances where Dr Murray deviated from the standards of care in the preceding two months of treatment, as relayed by Dr Murray in his statement to police?"

“Have you ever used propofol in someone’s bedroom?”

“Have you ever heard of anyone doing that prior to this case?”

You can watch segments of the cross of Dr. White on the video strip at the end of this page.

Cross-Examination Handbook covers this concession-seeking cross-examination technique, including how to identify the content of this type of cross – what the witness must concede - and how to construct and conduct a smooth flowing and effective cross to elicit those concessions.

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