Cross-Examining a Child Witness
Does the child love you or hate you?
Endless ApproachesWhen the child accusing you of sexual abuse or lewd molestation takes the witness stand and we have an opportunity to cross-examine him or her, there are endless approaches to questioning that child. We will have identified what we need to get from the child. It may be that we need an admission from the child that he or she has told conflicting stories to different people. It may be that we need the child to identify and acknowledge the motive he or she has for making the allegations. But whether we have identified that the child loves you and despite that love he or she has said something that has gotten you arrested, or the child hates you and wants you out of the house, you need someone with extensive experience in questioning children of all ages about sexual abuse and lewd molestation allegations.
Do Not Scare the ChildIf your attorney attacks or scares a young child during cross-examination, it hardly matters what the child says or admits to the judge or jury. The judge and jury will despise your attorney – and you, by extension – for the trauma inflicted on that child. It won’t matter that you and your attorney were desperate to get the child to admit the child made it up or exaggerated an innocent act into a felony crime. They jury will want to believe a child, especially a younger child. So you must be vigilant in your due diligence to consult with and retain an attorney who specializes in crimes against children.
The Delicate BalanceAt the Berlin Law Firm, we are “Masters of Our One.” For many years, I have dedicated my life and career to honing the skills necessary to striking the delicate balance necessary to gain a child witness’ trust and confidence while getting the child to open up and talk to me in a courtroom full of strangers. Yes, your lawyer will need to cross-examine the child witness in court. Yes, you need to be careful to retain someone with the necessary experience. Because whether the child on the witness stand is accusing you out of hatred or has been coached to accuse you despite their love for you, you need someone on your side so the jury doesn’t hate you by the time the child gets off the stand.