How Have the Courts Dealt with Prop 47?

ThinkstockPhotos-95349775There’s continuing debate about whether California’s Proposition 47, which decriminalized certain felonies, is responsible for a rise in crimes. But what’s not up for debate is that Prop 47 has been expanded and challenged in unforeseen ways. The appellate courts have been putting their own stamp on the way the trial courts have applied Prop 47. Here’s a sampling of how the cases have been falling.

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11 Steps to Introducing Exhibits at Trial

steps_78288477If it’s your first trial or it’s been a while since you’ve tried a case, here’s a handy list of the steps to take when introducing your evidence at trial. Continue reading

Really Listen to the Witness

listen_50736139It sounds obvious: You should always listen carefully to the witness during cross-examination. But listening means more than just hearing the words actually said. Ideally, your listening will go well beyond that, which can make all the difference in improving your cross-examination. Continue reading

Don’t Bore the Jury!

Much to the chagrin of trial attorneys, jurors don’t always give their full attention to the trial. It’s trial counsel’s job to keep things interesting. Depending on the case, this can be a tall order. Here are some tips for making your questioning of a witness as compelling as possible. Continue reading

Cross-Examining the Unimpeachable Witness

witness_87617035When you have to cross-examine a witness who is telling the truth—and is fully supported by a detailed consistent report prepared close to the time of the events he or she attests to—you’ll need to look for gaps in testimony and highlight and exploit those gaps if they fit your theory of the case. Continue reading

Know When to Cross-Examine and Know When to Pass

witness_158992082There’s a time-honored “rule” that, if a witness hasn’t hurt your client’s case, don’t cross-examine the witness, just stay seated. But whether this injunction makes sense depends on the strength of your case and the possibility that the witness can actually help it. Here are some situations in which you’ll want to get up and cross! Continue reading

21 Things to Tell Your Testifying Witness

witness_87617035Before your friendly witness is called to the stand, you should go over some general guidelines with him or her. This is particularly true of inexperienced witnesses, but it can’t hurt to review these admonitions even with someone who’s very experienced in giving trial testimony. You also might want to give them a hard copy to look over just before testifying. Continue reading

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