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

Are You Showing Enough in an Offer of Proof?

attorney making offer of proof to judge at trialWhen the opposing side objects to your evidence or the judge rules your evidence inadmissible, it’s time to make an offer of proof to encourage the court to admit the evidence or reconsider its ruling. Here’s a handy table illustrating how much of a showing is necessary in an offer of proof. Continue reading

Revisiting the Dying Declaration Exception

life and death; dying declarant must believe death is imminentThe “dying declaration” exception to the hearsay rule just jumped from law school textbooks onto California newspapers: A young woman who was stabbed and bleeding told officers about who had assaulted her shortly before she died, leading to the arrest of two suspects. It’s time to review what’s required to meet this hearsay exception. Continue reading

Can Opinion Come In Under the Business-Records Exception?

Here’s a common evidence question: Are opinions admissible when they’re in business records? The answer is generally “yes,” as long as the statement of opinion is in a writing that qualifies otherwise for the business-records exception to the hearsay rule. Continue reading

Getting Printouts of Digital Images into Evidence

printerBusiness records aren’t just text documents—they often include videos and other images that are digitally stored. Getting printouts of these images into evidence is just like any other business record evidence, but showing authenticity may require some tech knowledge. Continue reading

Snapchat as Evidence

snapchat-picSeveral years ago we told you to consider Facebook postings as evidence in legal cases. This is still true, but now there are many more social media platforms to consider. Snapchat in particular has become a fertile source of evidence not to be overlooked. Continue reading

10 Steps to Impeaching a Witness with Prior Depo Testimony

steps_78288477A witness’s deposition can be used for impeachment (i.e., to attack the witness’s credibility) by showing that the testimony on the stand isn’t consistent with the deposition testimony or “for any other purpose permitted by the Evidence Code.” CCP §2025.620(a). The quoted language permits the deposition to be used to show both prior inconsistent statements (Evid C §1235) and prior consistent statements (Evid C §1236).  Next time you have depo testimony that will impeach a witness, follow these 10 steps. Continue reading

9 Steps to Getting Business Records into Evidence

steps_78288477You know you can get business records into evidence under an exception to the hearsay rule, but you’re not exactly sure how to do it. It’s simply a mechanical process—just get your witness on the stand and follow these nine steps. Continue reading

The When and How of Marking Exhibits

evidence_87349294The first step when you want to offer something into evidence at trial is to have it marked for purposes of identification. Do you know when and how to mark exhibits? Continue reading