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Evidence Legal Topics

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?

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Evidence Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Begin and End with Your Strongest Questions

use strong question to open and close your cross-examination of a trial witnessWhen cross-examining a witness, almost always begin and end with your strongest questions. Except in a couple of situations.

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

3 Things to Consider When Preparing a Young Witness

girl covering her mouth before testifying in courtWhen it comes to preparing a child to testify at trial, there are at least three things that differ from preparing an adult witness.

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Checklists Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Make a Plan for Each Witness

85449216Before you prepare a witness for trial, you should know precisely what you expect to accomplish through that witness. In other words, have a plan.

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Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

To Call or Not to Call an Adverse Party or Witness

witness_87617035In civil cases, you can call an adverse party or witness in your own case. Evid C §776(a). But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Before deciding to call an adverse party or witness, definitely check out this chart laying out the strategy considerations—reasons to do it and reasons to steer clear.

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Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

An Offer to Concede Your Expert’s Qualifications May Be a Trojan Horse

454360833When you start eliciting testimony on your expert witness’s qualifications, the other side may offer to “waive the testimony concerning qualifications” or concede that the witness is specially qualified to testify as an expert. It may seem like a gift horse—but it’s often a Trojan horse.

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Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Direct Examination Crisis Control

57277978Sometimes, despite careful preparation by counsel and the witnesses, direct examination unravels. But if you’ve reviewed these crisis control techniques, you’ll be ready when a problem presents itself during your direct.

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Checklists Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Calming a Client Before Cross

469790631For many people—especially avid courtroom drama watchers—the anticipation of being cross-examined is terrifying. If your client is one of these people, try these calming techniques.

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Evidence Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Excusal Remorse: I Want That Witness Back!

witness_78724356Trial attorneys sometimes get excusal remorse, i.e., they excuse a witness and then want to recall that witness back to the stand. Anticipate this reaction and take proaction.