Tripping Up A Witness, Should You Consider It?

One tactic that some attorneys may consider when cross-examining a witness is to “trip up” the witness. I’ve seen this many times at the different trials I’ve attended. It’s a tactic that seems like a good idea at first until you think about the outcomes.

What is this tactic?

This tactic of trying to “trip up” a witness is to catch the witness in a lie or to confuse them in order to discredit their testimony. Some attorneys may see this as a good strategy because it can weaken the other side’s case and make it easier to win.

Why I’m against it

The reason why I’m against this tactic is because it can backfire and make the attorney look bad or it can make the witness sympathetic to the jury. Additionally, it can also be viewed as unethical and can lead to disciplinary action by the court – especially if the judge notices that you’re doing this purposely.

Furthermore, tripping up a witness may not be in the best interest of attorney’s client. The attorney’s main goal should be to get the best outcome for their client, not to discredit the opposing witness.

You don’t want to become Saul Goodman. While his character is great at deceiving people – in real life, it doesn’t work

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while cross-examination is an important part of a trial, tripping up a witness is not always a good idea. Attorneys should consider the potential consequences of this tactic and weigh them against the potential benefits before deciding to use it in a trial. Additionally, the attorney should always keep the best interest of their client in mind when making strategic decisions.