Book: Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination

Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination is the culmination of Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney’s 20 years of trial experience. In the courts of Massachusetts, he is regarded as an aggressive, extremely well-prepared, and street smart cross-examiner. His trial record speaks for itself, having won 46 of his last 49 trials. Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination is the fastest selling book in the history of James Publishing Company – a respected, well-established publisher of law books for 27 years.

Aside from its excerpts of cross-examination, the book offers extremely valuable wisdom regarding overarching trial strategies (e.g., defense counsel demeanor; tone, tenor, and timing; why you should not call defense witnesses; etc.) The wisdom offered is alone extremely valuable.

~ Review

Whether the witness is an alleged victim, a police officer, or a forensic expert, every cross-examination is a power struggle and battle of wits between the lawyer and the witness. With insights into witness psychology and a focus on juror impressions, Mahoney teaches criminal defense lawyers how to incorporate proven techniques into every cross-examination. But, it’s more than a simple “how to” book, Mahoney helps lawyers develop the killer mindset of a successful cross-examiner while never losing sight of the goal: persuading the jury.

Indeed, cross-examination is arguably the essential, if not sole, purpose of a criminal trial. Opening statements, the importance of which so many lawyers underestimate, is the foundation of effective cross-examination. The opening is where the criminal defense lawyer not only provides the jury with the defense’s version of the facts, but details how he will cross-examine prosecution witnesses. If the trial lawyer wastes the invaluable opportunity afforded by the opening, leaves critical “facts” unchallenged, neglects to cite examples of the witness’s duplicity, and fails to tell the jury how he will cross-examine the witnesses, it’s unlikely the jury will grasp the significance of otherwise effective cross-examination.

“A passionate, moving closing argument will never resurrect a lost trial. If there is such a thing as a great closing argument following a succession of failed cross-examinations, it is unlikely to persuade jurors to distrust a witness who survived unscathed a weak cross-examination. Counting on defense witnesses to win the day is a precarious strategy at best. Experienced trial lawyers will concede that there is no more painful experience than watching a promising defense witness implode on the stand.”

~ Kevin J. Mahoney, Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination

On television and in the movies, the lawyer who gives the most riveting closing argument wins the trial. That, of course, is total nonsense. If the criminal defense attorney hasn’t won his trial before the closing argument, his client is likely doomed. If the lawyer fails to discredit pivotal prosecution witnesses during cross-examination, what could he now say to persuade these jurors that the witnesses should be disbelieved? If the jurors believed a witness was truthful – particularly after an unimpressive cross – no amount of eloquence or finely crafted arguments will change the jurors’ minds. Closing argument is where the defense attorney shoots the dead – and these witnesses are dead because counsel killed the bastards with his cross-examination.

The book not only covers the general principles of effective cross-examination, it provides sample cross-examinations from trials, hearings on motions to suppress and probable cause hearings, including sample cross-examinations of:

“It is effective cross-examination that exposes the shoddy, predetermined nature of a police investigation, the “expert’s” reliance on flawed and vulnerable forensic techniques, and the witness’s lack of candor. It is a skill absolutely indispensable to the trial lawyer. Absent good, thorough cross-examination conviction is all but inevitable. Only by proper exercise of the opportunity guaranteed by the 6th Amendment can defense counsel even a process that is slanted in favor of the prosecution.”

~ Kevin J. Mahoney, Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination

There is no other book on cross-examination that teaches a defense lawyer how to fit cross-examination within the overall trial strategy and still make cross-examination the centerpiece of that strategy.

Kevin J. Mahoney is a Cambridge criminal defense lawyer, on-air legal analyst, and published author. If you have been accused of a crime, contact us at 617-492-0055 or use our online contact form to schedule a free in-office consultation.