Know When to Cross-Examine and Know When to Pass

witness_158992082There’s a time-honored “rule” that, if a witness hasn’t hurt your client’s case, don’t cross-examine the witness, just stay seated. But whether this injunction makes sense depends on the strength of your case and the possibility that the witness can actually help it. Here are some situations in which you’ll want to get up and cross! Continue reading

21 Things to Tell Your Testifying Witness

witness_87617035Before your friendly witness is called to the stand, you should go over some general guidelines with him or her. This is particularly true of inexperienced witnesses, but it can’t hurt to review these admonitions even with someone who’s very experienced in giving trial testimony. You also might want to give them a hard copy to look over just before testifying. Continue reading

Expert Tip: Use Jury Instructions in Your Opening and Closing

78724287By the time you prepare your opening statement, you’ll know specifically what the legal theories of your case are and generally what the jury instructions will be. By the time of your closing argument, the instructions will have been settled. Make sure to plan your opening and closing with the jury instructions in mind. Continue reading

7 Suggestions for Your Next Voir Dire

Maybe you’ve been doing voir dire the same way for years, or maybe it’s your first time. Either way, check out these ideas for your next voir dire. Continue reading

Lost on a Motion in Limine? Make Your Record!

The basic rule is that, if you don’t make a timely objection before or when objectionable matters are mentioned or introduced, you may not be able to raise the issue on appeal. See Evid C §353. Accordingly, if you don’t ensure that a proper record is made of any adverse ruling to a motion in limine, you may just have lost a ground for appeal. Here’s how to preserve the ground for appeal when you’re on the losing end of a motion in limine. Continue reading

What’s NOT Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege?

The attorney-client privilege (Evid C §§950–962) protects a client from disclosure of confidential communications between attorney and client. But not every communication between attorney and client is protected. Do you know what’s not covered? Continue reading

Time Will Soon Run Out for Petitions under Prop 47

ThinkstockPhotos-73979720Those individuals who are currently in custody or who are on probation or who have completed a sentence for one of the decriminalized felonies under Proposition 47 need to act soon. The clock is ticking on the filing deadline for petitions to reduce a felony charge and/or sentence to a misdemeanor, which in most cases is November 4, 2017, three years after the effective date of the The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. See Pen C §1170.18(j). Continue reading

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