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

Taking a Chance with a Risky Question in Court

One of the fundamental rules of thumb for cross-examining a witness at trial is not to ask a question to which you don’t know the answer. But there are situations in which you can’t take such a low-risk approach to the case. You may have to throw this rule out the window and take your chances to resuscitate a weak or even middling case. Continue reading

10 Questions to Help Figure Out Whether a Police Officer Will Make a Good Witness

You’ve taken on a car accident case. Who’s going to be your best witness?  Many times it will be the officer who arrived at the scene. But how do you evaluate whether that officer will really be a good witness for your client? Continue reading

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Presenting Evidence at Trial

One of the most important aspects of trial is determining how and when to present each witness, exhibit, and other item of evidence most persuasively. Here are some helpful ideas and ten questions to ask yourself when deciding how and when to present evidence at trial. Continue reading

10 Cross-Examination Tips from a Master

Cross-examination of a witness is a critical part of trial. An effective cross-examination can strengthen your case by bringing out favorable information, undermining and/or attacking the witness, and getting fresh discovery (particularly in criminal cases).

Master trial attorney James Brosnahan offers these ten tips for acing cross-examination:

  1. Use short, simple, leading questions with four to six words. “You wrote the letter, didn’t you?” Continue reading
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