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Logging Your Exhibits Without Getting Logjammed

Not only is an exhibit log an invaluable trial organizational tool for you, but you’ll score points with the court clerk if you provide him or her with one. Here’s how to create an impressive exhibit log.

An exhibit log is simply a log of the status of every proffered trial exhibit. It should describe all premarked exhibits, with appropriate columns to fill in the dates of identification and introduction, and have additional lines for exhibits marked at trial. You should keep separate logs for your own exhibits and opposing counsel’s exhibits.

An exhibit log is an excellent tool to monitor the status of the record and to remind you to provide additional authenticating testimony for a particular piece of evidence, make subsequent motions to strike opposing counsel’s evidence, and/or obtain definitive rulings on admissibility.

Here’s how you keep an exhibit log: once an exhibit is marked, you record the following four pieces of information about the status of the evidence in the log:

  1. The number or letter that is marked;
  2. The description;
  3. The date it was offered into evidence; and
  4. The status in the record, including the date of ruling on its admissibility.

You’ll need to update log to reflect the exhibit’s receipt into evidence.

Here’s a sample exhibit log to give the idea:

Plaintiff’s Exhibits


Number

Description
Marked for
Identification

In Evidence

Comment
1 Rue letter to Molton, 6/9/2010 7/10/2012 7/10/2012 Copy substituted for original 7/10/2010
2 Molton letter to Rue, 6/12/2010 7/10/2012 7/10/2012
3 Contract dated 6/15/2010 7/11/2012 7/12/2012 Subject to motion to strike

Want more step-by-step guidance on evidence issues? Turn to CEB’s Laying a Foundation to Introduce Evidence (Preparing and Using Evidence at Trial). For more in depth coverage of all trial evidence issues, check out CEB’s Effective Introduction of Evidence in California. Also check out CEB’s related program Developing Your Basic Evidence Skills: Relevance, Hearsay and Direct Examination, available On Demand.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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