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

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

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

What to Do about an Incompetent Interpreter

455104761A witness who would otherwise be incompetent because he or she can’t understand or speak English can be made effectively competent by using an interpreter. But what happens when the interpreter is accused of being incompetent? Continue reading

Mmmm…Donuts! But Can You Bring Them to the Courtroom Staff or Jury?

84521465Seasoned litigators know how important it can be to have a good relationship with courtroom staff. Bringing holiday treats or morning coffee can certainly bolster that relationship, but is it ok to do?

Continue reading

Don’t Irritate the Jury

 

85449976 Your carefully planned cross-examination will be worthless if you manage to irritate the jury. Keep in mind that the jury often focuses more on counsel than the witness. Before your next cross-examination, check out these common irritants and how to avoid them. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Argument Get Personal

arbitration_104240128Although the permissible scope of counsel’s discussion and argument before a jury is broad, personal attacks on opposing parties or their counsel is never ok. Doing so opens you up to successful objections, makes you look like a jerk to the jury, and may lead to you losing your case. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: