Summary of Doesn't Hurt to Ask
One of the most critical skills a prosecutor can have in a courtroom is the ability to persuade. Every prosecutor knows that if they cannot persuade a jury of their client's guilt, they will never get the sentence they want.
To persuade, someone must possess a few skills. The first thing they must do is know their jury. They must know any biases their jury may have, and they must know how their jury thinks. Without being able to meet the jury where they are, a prosecutor will not be very convincing.
The second thing they must do is learn to listen. Listening effectively gets to know a jury, but it also helps a prosecutor ask questions. Every good prosecutor has mastered the skills of when to ask leading vs. non-leading questions.
Third, a prosecutor must have strong facts and solid evidence to reach their conclusions, and they must not impede their credibility by misrepresenting facts.
Fourth, when talking to witnesses, a prosecutor must seek to either undermine their credibility or build it up. By asking the right questions and presenting the correct facts, they can do this.
A great prosecutor will subtly do all of these things, treating persuasion like a process rather than a momentary battle. Real persuasion is done by getting to know others and incrementally persuading them, a skill that Gowdy teaches every reader how to possess in this book.
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