Direct Examination Avoiding Surprises-vidalia

I: Preparing Witnesses For Trial There is no substitute for meeting with our witnesses in person before trial. With key witnesses and always with the plaintiff we should meet more than once. Our client should be very .fortable with the direct examination and should be prepared for the anticipated cross-examination. It is often helpful to have another attorney in our office conduct a mock cross examination of our client. Here are some very general suggestions to give to witness in addition to the specific concerns of your case: Tips On How to Be a Good Witness 1. Prepare. Review the facts of the case before your court appearance. If it is an accident case, review the accident report and you may need to visit the scene. It may help refresh your memory. Review any statements you have made, depositions you have given or interrogatory responses. 2. Discuss Testimony With Attorney. The attorney calling you as a witness will want to discuss your testimony with you. There is nothing improper with this type of preparation. 3. Dress Conservatively. Do not wear extravagant or fancy jewelry. If in doubt ask your attorney. Avoid chewing gum. 4. Listen Carefully. If you do not understand a question ask for the question to be repeated or explained. Never guess at questions. If you do not know the answer to a question, simply state that you do not know. 5. Take Your Time. Do not be.e engaged in rapid fire questions with rapid fire responses without thinking before you answer. 6. Answer Questions Directly After the Entire Question Has Been Asked. Do not attempt to answer questions before the entire question has been asked. Answer only the question that has been asked. If a question can be answered with a yes or no, do so. If you make a mistake, correct it. Do not begin providing information that is not in response to the question. 7. Do Not Memorize Your Testimony. Do not argue with the attorney or be.e hostile. 8. Address the Judge as Your Honor and the Attorneys By Their Last Names. Example: Ms. Smith or Mr. Jones. 9. Stop when an objection is made or the judge speaks. Listen to the objection so that you understand why it is being made. 10. Exercise Caution Regarding Distance, Time or Speed. Many people have a hard time distinguishing between 150 feet and 150 yards. If you do not know, give that response and stick to it. If you do give an estimate, be sure and indicate that it is an estimate. 11. Avoid Wisecracks. 12. Speak Clearly. Answer questions clearly and loudly enough so the jury can hear you. Answer yes and no questions verbally rather than with nods of the head. 13. Watch Out For Questions That Contain More Than One Question. 14. Do Not Argue With the Lawyer and Control Your Temper. 15. There is no need to try to memorize what you are going to say. 16. Remember that jurors will see you both in the courtroom and outside the courtroom. Act in a manner outside the courtroom that is consistent with the seriousness of your case. If you are joking around and laughing, jurors may conclude that your case is not as serious as it really is. 17. Answer questions directly and simply, but explain your answers if need be. This is not your deposition where you may have been instructed to answer the question and only the question, then stop. 18. Never exaggerate. 19. Be positive and direct in your responses. Avoid saying, "I believe", "I think", or other phrases that would lead one to believe that you do not know what you are talking about. 20. Don’t look at me or any other attorneys on our team while you are testifying. The jury must know that the answers you are giving are your answers, not an attorney’s answers. 21. Do not mention insurance. 22. Tell the Truth. A jury will forgive almost anything, but rest assured they will not forgive lying. II: Direct Examination 1. Direct Examination Generally The ability to conduct an effective direct examination is sometimes harder to master than conducting an effective cross-examination. One advantage with regard to direct examination is that you may practice with your client and favorable witnesses. Your client or the witness through prepping should know where you are going with questions. The direct examination, however, should not be memorized and should not be presented like a script. The disadvantage on direct is that you cannot lead the witness, so losing "control" of the testimony is always a possibility. Generally, it is suggested that you present the direct examination in a logical chronological order. The direct examination should not be redundant or repetitious. You as a direct examiner should direct the witness through her testimony as she tells a story. Some witnesses are better storytellers than others, so discretion is advised when it .es to just how much each particular witness should tell. Focus the attention on the witness and not on the attorney. One way to do this is to stand such that the jury is placed between you and the witness stand. If your client is looking at something or someone other than the jury while she is testifying, consider reminding the witness during the examination to "please address the jury directly since they are the ones deciding this case". 2. Statutes and Case Law Governing Direct Exam a. O.C.G.A. § 24-9-63. Leading questions are improper. b. O.C.G.A. § 24-9-81. A party may not impeach a witness voluntarily called by him except where he can show the Court he has been entrapped by the witness by a previous contradictory statement. c. O.C.G.A. § 24-9-3. Religious beliefs shall only go to the credit of a witness. However, it is not essential that a witness believe in a supreme being to be sworn in. Smith v. State, 247 Ga. 511 (1981) (.pare, Federal Rule of Evidence 610: "Evidence of the beliefs or opinions of a witness on matters of religion is not admissible for the purpose of showing by reason of their nature the witness’s credibility is impaired or enhanced." d. The trial court has discretion to allow leading questions on direct examination where a witness is nervous, reluctant, or hostile. Hayes v. State, 268 Ga. 809 (1997) See also, O.C.G.A. 24-9-63. 相关的主题文章: