The Most Basic Rule of Cross Examination

My father was not a lawyer, but he read a book titled  "The Art of Cross Examination" when he was a young man. I still have that old book.  It's on the shelf in my husband's office.


My dad told me more than once that that book had a tremendous impact on him.  He also repeatedly told me that the single most basic rule of cross examination is not to ever ask questions for which you do not already know the answer or outcome.    


I have a feeling a couple of people in my home town, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, are going to wish they had followed that rule.  I am referring to a public records request made by a school board member and her husband for e-mails between a City Councilwoman and constituents.  


Since that request became public, I have been watching the commentary on the various Oak Ridge Facebook group pages. The commentary has been interesting.


1) The suggestion was made that public records requests are now in order for said Board of Education member's e-mails as well as the e-mails of other elected officials and employees. 


2) One person has floated the possibility that the e-mails the Board of Education member is actually seeking are ones about what many still consider to be the mysterious death of a young man who was a high level employee in finance in the Oak Ridge City School System at the time of his death.  


3) A number of people are questioning the propriety of the Board member as she ridicules the Councilwoman and other citizens with whom she disagrees on an anonymous website that she has admitted owning.  


4) Finally, the issue of the Board of Education member's tardiness in paying her and her husband's county property taxes has become an issue on Facebook.  


My take away from public reaction on social media this weekend is that my dad was right.  Don't ever cross examine or question anyone publicly unless you're fairly sure of the outcome. 


At this moment, to me, it looks like Pandora's box is open and more than a few demons have been loosed in our ever mysterious and frankly weird little Secret City.  I have a feeling that some of those demons are going to come back to bite more than one person in the ass.  


And life goes on….. 

Just for the record, unlike the owner of the anonymous website, I sign my work.

Be Well and Good Luck,

Martha Maria 

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