Demonstrative Evidence: When You Want to Show and Tell

82770181An episode of This American Life described the failed effort to get a Tic-tac-toe-playing chicken into evidence in the death penalty case of a mentally ill man with a very low IQ. Defense counsel was trying to rebut a psychiatrist’s testimony that the defendant was aware he was going to be executed based on his beating her in a game of Tic-tac-toe. We’ll never know who would have won the game; the court refused to admit the chicken because it “would degrade the dignity of the court.” Although the chicken didn’t work out, demonstrative evidence can be a very powerful courtroom tool. Continue reading

Should You Use Tactical Dismissals?

84215043As plaintiff’s counsel, you always want to analyze how best to present your client’s case in the most efficient and persuasive way. Sometimes doing that means dismissing certain parties or causes of action. But such tactical dismissals aren’t without risk. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to dismiss. Continue reading

Inadmissible Evidence May Still Get In for a Limited Purpose

78494947It may not be favored by courts or be the parties’ preference, but there’s a place for evidence to be admitted for a limited purpose. It can be seen as either a creative solution to an evidence admissibility problem or a way around the rules, depending on your perspective. Continue reading

Keep Cross-Examination Short (Unless You Shouldn’t)

153165013A successful evangelist once said about his sermons: “Nobody ever got religion after the first twenty minutes.” His time estimate may be wrong, but every evangelist and trial attorney has wrestled with the short attention span of their audiences. Continue reading

5 Things to Do to Prepare for Voir Dire

78724287When next faced with preparing for jury voir dire examination before trial, consider these five practical suggestions. Continue reading

8 Things to Consider Before Opposing a Motion to Consolidate

532203529In response to a plaintiff’s motion for consolidation, the court can combine two or more separately filed lawsuits for simultaneous disposition. This promotes efficiency, but there are very big downsides for a defendant in a consolidated case. Here are 8 things defense counsel should consider when faced with a motion to consolidate.

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Come Together? 10 Things to Consider Before Moving to Consolidate

515961369Consolidation can be a useful efficiency technique because it allows the court to combine two or more separately filed lawsuits for simultaneous disposition. This efficiency is not without danger—consolidation may produce an incomprehensible case that the jury can’t handle fairly or understand.

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