In the office today and again thinking about what I learned and how it will help my clients. I just was sent a copy of a newspaper story on the Ruby Ridge case. Gerry Spence and I tried this case fifteen years ago. Here is how they described my cross-examination technique then: “Spence’s second is Chuck Peterson, who riddles hostile witnesses with barrages of questions and telegraphs his message to jurors with a blend of smirks and rolled eyes. In this case, the lawyers know the meek will inherit nothing.” What I have since learned is that “soft cross” is better than the standard “hard cross” if you want the jury to like you. Kill them with kindness. Tell your story but don’t kill the witness. Intuitively most cross-examination is directed at the witness in anger, leading you to abandon the story. But the key to every case is the story, not the ability of the lawyer to slice and dice a lying witness. I have long ago returned to the side of the meek, believing that the story is almost always more important than the denials. And now, with a month of working on TLC techniques, I can’t wait to “soft cross” the next informant.