The Trial Lawyer's Arsenal: Your Exhibit List
One of the most important things you will undertake during trial preparation is to organize and prepare your document list. While the case is presented to the jury primarily through the delivery of witness testimony, the fact is that exhibits almost always play key roles in the illustration and support of the testimony delivered by the witnesses.
It is one thing for a witness to deliver a key factual point that must be made in a given case. It is quite another for that key point to be corroborated by an email or text message which bolsters and establishes for the jury, the truth of a given matter. Exhibits can make your own testimony more persuasive, but they can also be used to demonstrate that opposing witnesses are not telling the truth! Exhibits are therefore a crucial aspect of trial preparation.
The exhibits you will put on should be built largely from the record that was developed over the course of the litigation through discovery, depositions, and subpoenas. Generally, every litigant has an ongoing obligation to comply with discovery requests; therefore, it can become problematic if you want to introduce new exhibits late in the game that you failed to produce in earlier discovery. Make sure your attorney has all of the documents in a timely fashion!
Every exhibit that reaches the jury must first survive the strenuous tests put to it through the Rules of Evidence. These rules, which govern such matters as hearsay statements, character evidence, relevance, and unfair prejudice, are extensive and complex. Each exhibit must be carefully vetted through these rules to ensure that they have a proper proponent witness and will come through the evidence rules.
If you have a case that may have an inordinately complex documentary record, the civil litigation attorneys at Asheville Legal are here to help ensure that you put on a fantastic case. Give us a call today.