Excusal Remorse: I Want That Witness Back!

witness_78724356Trial attorneys sometimes get excusal remorse, i.e., they excuse a witness and then want to recall that witness back to the stand. Anticipate this reaction and take proaction. Continue reading

When a Witness Has Selective Memory

187065476Some witnesses have a crystal clear memory about events unfavorable to your client, but express sweeping memory loss on other contemporaneous events. Here’s how to attack such selective memory. Continue reading

Prepping Your Client for Cross-Examination

witness_158992082Most cases are won by witnesses and evidence, not by attorneys. Preparing your client to tell his or her own story effectively is an important aspect of trial and can make your case. Continue reading

That’s Not What You Said in Your Depo

mouth_94175022What do you do when a witness says one thing during his or her deposition and a very different thing when on the stand at trial? Impeach! Continue reading

Standing by Your (Wo)Man

It’s one of those legal concepts that is imbedded in popular culture: the privilege not to testify against one’s spouse. Let’s go a bit deeper than the privilege’s depiction in movies and TV and consider the scope and limitations on the marital privilege under California law. Continue reading

Witnesses In or Out of the Courtroom?

One more trial decision for you: Do you want to keep nonparty witnesses out of the courtroom while other witnesses testify or let them stay and listen in? Continue reading

Judicial Council Gives Due Process to Family Law Litigants with One Hand While Taking it Away with the Other

In the wake of the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision Elkins v Superior Court (2007) 41 C4th 1337, then Chief Justice Ron George created a task force to look into measures that could be undertaken to ease the burden on both overcrowded courts and the large number (approximately 70%) of unrepresented family law litigants. The drafters of the Elkins Family Law Task Force: Final Report and Recommendations, issued April 2010, expressed concern, among other things, over the drastic reduction of live testimony in family court, which they felt deprived family law litigants of due process. In 2010 the legislature introduce a package of new statutes designed to address the concerns of the Elkins Task force (Assembly Bill 939). The Judicial Council duly adopted a new rule, effective July 1, 2011, that relates to the new statutes, Cal Rules of Ct 5.119.

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