It is an axiom of the law that cross-examination is, in John Henry Wigmore's words, the "greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth." In part because of its perceived utility in getting to the truth of a matter, courts are generally reluctant, despite broad authority to do so, to step in and to govern the conduct of cross-examination. But is cross-examination invariably calculated to ascertain the truth? While most lawyers are familiar with Wigmore's famous quotation, few are familiar with the caveat that shortly follows it: "A lawyer can do anything with cross-examination.. . . He may, it is true, do more than he ought to do; he . .. may make the truth appear like falsehood. Because of cross-examination's power to distort the truth, Wigmore recognized the need for it to be controlled.
Vandervort, Frank E. "A Search for the Truth or Trial by Ordeal: When Prosecutors Cross-Examine Adolescents How Should Courts Respond?" Widener Law Review 16, no. 2 (2010): 335-67.