Do You Need an Expert to Spot Insanity?

The general rule is that you need an expert witness to testify when the subject is “sufficiently beyond common experience that the opinion of that expert would assist the trier of fact.” Evid C §801(a). When it comes to a person’s sanity, you don’t always need an expert. Continue reading

The Danger of Refreshing Recollection

Sometimes a witness needs documents to refresh his or her recollection. This can lead to a tough choice for attorneys. Continue reading

Do You Know When to Request a Sidebar?

After a party objects to the admission of evidence, the proponent of the evidence can respond by arguing that the objection doesn’t apply or isn’t valid, or that the evidence is admissible because of an exception to the ground stated in the objection. Where that argument is made can make a big difference—should you argue in open court or in a sidebar conference? Continue reading

8 Ways to Make Calling Witnesses More Dramatic

As a trial attorney, never forget your role as director of the courtroom play. Consider these staging decisions when it comes to calling witnesses. Continue reading

What to Include in an Expert Retention Agreement

It’s always best to put your fee agreement with an expert into writing. Here are the most important provisions to include in an expert retention letter agreement. Continue reading

These Statements Aren’t Hearsay, Even If Admitted for Their Truth

There are several types of statements that, although sought to be admitted in evidence for their underlying truth, aren’t considered hearsay. This means you can get them into evidence and no hearsay exception need apply. Continue reading

Need Another Expert? Here’s How to Augment Your Expert Designation

When you need another expert to support your client’s case or there’s a change in the general substance of a  previously designated expert, you’ll need to move to augment or amend your expert witness declaration. Continue reading

Is there Any Marital Privilege Left After Divorce?

As Joseph DeAngelo (the “East Area Rapist”) may soon find out, a divorced spouse can spill a lot of beans. He was separated from his wife for years, but she’s just made divorce official and that’s a boon for the prosecution in his upcoming trial. But is she still limited in what she can say? Continue reading

How to Rehab Your Witness

What can you do if your witness’s truthfulness has been challenged? Use evidence of the witness’s prior consistent statement to rehabilitate your witness. Here’s how it’s done. Continue reading

7 Questions to Answer Before Using Opinion Character Evidence

There are situations in which you may want to introduce opinion character evidence at trial. But before you use a character witness in a civil case, ask yourself the following questions. Continue reading