Wrapping Up the Fall with the Pre-Law Society

PLS Meeting: Cross Examination Exercise

November 16, 2022

McKenna Nonnenmann

For our last Pre-Law Society meeting, all the members engaged in a cross and direct examination exercise! Following our previous meeting with an attorney, Mr. Chris Thompson, who spoke on tips and tricks to successfully cross-examine a witness in the courtroom, we dove into an immersive experience to apply what we learned from him.

As an interactive exercise, all members were given roles and could ask unique questions to either reinforce the case’s witness or discredit them. To start us off a model group came up to present how the exercise should be done with the roles being played by Yvette Mendoza (police officer), Ashley Kinyon (prosecutor’s witness), Anthony Roughton (prosecutor), and Jocelyn Vazquez (defense attorney).

They each presented a crime scene from the famous movie Taxi Driver. In this case, a man is being convicted of second-degree murder but was pleading for self-defense. This was presented in great detail through excellent opening statements that Jocelyn and Anthony gave. The cross and direct examination the model group gave was a great way to see how to either discredit the witness or make your witness look good!

Turning it over to the members, they each got into their groups with the crime scene they had to examine from the movie Dirty Harry. The members were heavily dedicated to their roles! The officers gathered the witness statement from the witnesses, and the attorneys went to watch the crime scene, which was considered “camera footage,” and used the witness statements to articulate their direct and cross-examination questions.

This experience allowed us, as future attorneys, a piece of the pie of what life could be like as an attorney. There was so much excitement and curiosity about this exercise. It was a great way to learn how a trial may work when the attorneys need to examine the witnesses, and we all hope to do it again soon, possibly in a mock trial!

As we close the fall 2022 semester, we would like to congratulate any seniors graduating this semester and wish them a safe journey. We will see the rest of you next semester, and happy holidays!

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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