The majority rule in this country is that cross-examination is limited by the scope of the direct examination. This rule does not limit the cross-examiner is to questions about the witness’s specific testimony. Once the “door has been opened” for questioning about a specific subject, the cross-examiner may inquire further about that subject.
A cross-examiner may ask questions on almost any subject designed to attack a witness’s credibility, regardless of its relevance to the facts in dispute in the underlying case.
While the cross-examiner may question a witness regarding collateral matters, the cross-examiner is bound by the answer the witness gives. As a general matter, the cross-examiner may not introduce extrinsic evidence to impeach or contradict the witness on that point. As noted in the discussion of impeachment, the cross-examiner may introduce extrinsic evidence that bears on the witness’s credibility.
The right to re-cross-examination arises only if there has been redirect examination. The re-crossexamination is limited to the scope of the re-cross-examination.
While the scope of cross-examination is wide, the cross-examiner is expected to observe proper courtroom decorum.