Most civil cases resolve before court; however, a small percentage go to trial. A first and good impression goes a long way toward building a rapport with the judge. A person who acts like court is a burden to attend and dresses casually--like going to the beach--makes less than a good impression. This blog addresses five key things to do and not to do in court and includes tips from recent observations in our recent trials. First, normal emotion is expected. However, scoffing at a witness, laughing, or interjecting sentences out of turn shows disrespect for the Court and the judicial process. ...
September 6, 2017CD
In trial court testimony, it is rare that the prosecutor (if the defendant testifies on his or her behalf) or a Plaintiff’s or Defendant’s attorney gets a stunning revelation on cross-examination, such as in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men where the witness on trial in a military court—while enraged on cross—admitted he ordered the “code red” which caused other soldiers to beat up a non-conforming soldier. Equally, criminals on trial for murder don’t typically admit they killed the victim, nor does a divorcing party admit to a gambling or drinking problem. This is basic, innate, and instinctual self-preservation. However, ...
May 30, 2017Adam Hayes
Divorce trials are different from other civil and criminal trials because the events that led to the divorce are still going on and creating evidence and issues up to the point of trial. For this reason, a great deal of trial prep occurs near the time of the trial to capture the essence of the divorce dynamics. In this situation, it is often hard to determine any sort of rules to follow in presenting your case to the court (i.e., your testimony). However, over the years, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys have observed a few relative constant do’s and don’ts for ...
October 11, 2016Adam Hayes
Good lawyers never stop learning. Some valuable insights into trial practice and how to be a better advocate from your client can be learned in the heat of the moment—trial. In this blog post, it covers three valuable tips Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys have learned over the last several months of trial. We hope they help you better understand inside courtroom, which is vastly different than what is depicted on television courtroom shows. The first relates to objections. A large number of potential objections are unnecessary because the evidence in question will be admissible in a number of other ways. ...
September 29, 2016Adam Hayes
The mediation process is confidential, and a mediator can only report to the court whether the parties settle, providing the agreement or did not settle. The parties and litigants also cannot relay anything they learn in mediation during the litigation process. However, even with these limitations, a failed mediation is usually very helpful to the parties in moving forward in four ways. First, a party learns about the case and how it is viewed by the other side in weaknesses (and inferentially in strengths) through the process. This may provide insights to later settle or resolve some issues before court. Second, where ...
February 23, 2016Adam Hayes
Trials are dynamic events and no two are the same, even on the same or similar issues between the same parties. To have a fair and accurate trial free of most types of evidence that can misdirect a court, there are four key rules of evidence parties and witnesses struggle to follow as sometimes they seem counter-intuitive. These are addressed in this blog post to help you put your best foot forward at trial. The first is hearsay. Unless the matter is what one “party” (not other witness) has said to the other, statements or testimony about what someone else said ...
September 9, 2015Adam Hayes
In custody matters, the best interests of the children are paramount, and the process seeks to determine who shall have physical and/or legal custody of the minor children of the parties. However, the parents are the parties to a custody matter, not children, and in fact, children’s statements are generally hearsay, and not admissible in Court under the Rules of Evidence. So, how are children heard in the judicial system? There are several ways. There was a previous presumption that a child under age ten (10) was an incompetent witness. This has been repealed (revoked) for several years. So, one way ...
June 19, 2014CD
If you are a party or a witness to a legal matter, you may be called to the stand to testify. Many people are familiar with this generally, from TV shows and movies. Witnesses are generally sworn in, and then each side gets to ask them questions. Whether the Plaintiff of Defendant (criminal cases) or Petitioner or Respondent (Civil Cases) calls the particular witness determines which side gets to question first, meaning whichever side called them witness gets the first go round of questions. After the side that called the witness has completed questioning (Direct Exam), the other side will ...
March 20, 2014CD
Once the appeal process has been started and the Court of Appeals takes jurisdiction of a matter from the lower court, new evidence or information from after the order being appealed may not generally be used in the Court of Appeals. But why? Facts and information underlying a case move in real time. For example, if child support is not paid by a parent on Friday, the other parent may know that same Friday that there is a child support arrears. However, the system cannot move in real time due to the need for filings and notice to each party. Therefore, ...
February 25, 2014CD
When a case goes to trial, the information gathering has been completed. Discovery may have been served and answered, depositions may have been taken, research has been done, and fact finding has been completed. But, how do you utilize the best information for trial? Here are three tips to help in information gathering and using information at trial. 1) Tell your attorney the full story A trial surprise can come if a party has not shared full or accurate information with his/her attorney, and this surprise can often be a negative one. In order to prepare the best information, the attorney needs ...
January 9, 2014CD