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question re trial procedure

I'm an attorney, but I don't really practice law. I took jefferson06/24/18
You haven't said what court you are in, but in general, in m nycatt06/25/18
I can't speak about trial prep apps, but getting video in is thirdtierlaw06/24/18
Awesome! This helps a lot. jefferson06/24/18
Good advice. In addition, I'd recommend that if you are onl jeffm06/24/18
Just put each video on it's own disk for the day of the benc isthisit06/24/18
Just ask opposing counsel to stipulate to its admissibility. tcpaul06/24/18
Your optimism is refreshing. therewillbeblood06/25/18
OC being generally cooperative made me chuckle. I do not mi esquirewalletsmatter06/25/18
Good trial attorneys will cooperate along these lines. I su jeffm06/25/18
I try on average 3 jury trials a year. It is extremely rare tcpaul06/25/18
"what comes around goes around" I wish that statement was te thirdtierlaw06/25/18
jefferson (Jun 24, 2018 - 7:14 pm)

I'm an attorney, but I don't really practice law.

I took a case for a family member and have a judge trial coming up soon.

I want to offer video evidence, but I'm not sure of the process, and I don't want to look like an ass.

Question - Court provides audio/video equipment. I just plug my computer into it and play.

How do I mark a video exhibit for identification. Do I mark the DVD? What about if I use a flash drive? What about if I use a video file stored on my computer? What if there are more than one videos.

Also, another thing I can't figure out...for those trial presentation apps, how do they offer video exhibits into evidence? Do they offer a CD/flash drive and then play the specific file from their app? Wouldn't you have to play the actual disk you are offering into evidence?

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nycatt (Jun 25, 2018 - 6:24 pm)

You haven't said what court you are in, but in general, in most courts, you must turn over your exhibits to the other side ahead of the trial unless its small claims court. If you don't turn it over, you often can't bring it in, even if you could authenticate it. No Colombo moments in real life; the other side needs time to prepare.

Also, you will have to authenticate it during the trial after you identify it to get it into evidence. So, for example, if your family member took the video with his phone or by setting up a nanny cam, that is easy authentication. Just have the family member explain that they set it up and that they made the copy you brought into court. if you had to get it from a third party, that gets a whole lot more complicated.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 24, 2018 - 7:41 pm)

I can't speak about trial prep apps, but getting video in is fairly easy.

Attorney: Ms. Smith, I'm going to show you what has been marked for identification as plaintiff's '1', do you recognize this disk?

Ms. Smith: Yes, it is a disk with the video I took of... on it.

Attorney: Did you review the disk? and if so is it a true and accurate reflection of the ....?

Ms. Smith: Move to admit what has been marked as plaintiff's 1.

If the video is longer than the part you need, most rules require you to specify what time span you're showing, i.e. 45secs to 1min 30 secs.

If I have more than 1 video, I put each one on an individual disk. If opposing counsel isn't a complete jerk, you can typically pull them over before the trial starts and explain that files 1-5 are on individual disks, but with their permission, to save time you have digital versions saved in a folder on your computer and you'd prefer to just play each file off there vs. needing to keep changing out disks, and offer to let them do the same for their cross.

If they are a jerk you'll need to swap out disks, but I've never had someone say no.

As for playback, it has varied, but for the most part, in both bench and jury trials, they call both attorneys back and ask you to replay the parts of the video they need to see again. This avoids them accidentally watching parts that haven't been admitted into evidence.

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jefferson (Jun 24, 2018 - 8:03 pm)

Awesome! This helps a lot.

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jeffm (Jun 24, 2018 - 8:16 pm)

Good advice. In addition, I'd recommend that if you are only going to show segments of the video, that you have those segments extracted and put together as your exhibit. That way, you don't have to waste time skipping around to find start points. There's no point in offering more than you intend to show live, and further, when you cull it down to exactly what you need, there will be less delay and confusion. The rules of evidence (relevance, prejudice, etc.) still apply, and it would be counter-productive to make your opposing counsel review and raise objections to portions that you do not intend to show live.

Bear in mind the rule of optional completeness. I don't know how your JX deals with trial preparation, but many require the attorneys to pre-exchange exhibits well in advance so that there is ample time for review and objections.

The best approach, if it doesn't mess with your trial strategy, would be to provide a copy of the full video to OC with a list of start/stop times for the segments you want to show. OC might want to add some start/stops as well. Figure it out among yourselves and produce a single video with everything both sides want to show.

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isthisit (Jun 24, 2018 - 9:25 pm)

Just put each video on it's own disk for the day of the bench trial. And move to admit Plaitiffs Exhibit 1, 2, 3, etc. after you go through the questions to establish foundation.

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tcpaul (Jun 24, 2018 - 9:39 pm)

Just ask opposing counsel to stipulate to its admissibility. Unless its surveillanve video of his client or something like that, he'll probably stipulate to it. Then just call it whatever exhibit number or letter you're on and skip the rest of the steps discussed above.

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therewillbeblood (Jun 25, 2018 - 8:06 am)

Your optimism is refreshing.

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esquirewalletsmatter (Jun 25, 2018 - 11:20 am)

OC being generally cooperative made me chuckle. I do not miss law lol.

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jeffm (Jun 25, 2018 - 3:54 pm)

Good trial attorneys will cooperate along these lines. I suppose many attorneys are too afraid to cooperate because of lack of experience and unfamiliarity with the trial/appeal process.

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tcpaul (Jun 25, 2018 - 7:46 pm)

I try on average 3 jury trials a year. It is extremely rare not to stipulate to just about everything. Maybe I just practice in a rainbows and sunshine jurisdiction, but fighting over foundation is a waste of time. And what comes around goes around.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 25, 2018 - 8:55 pm)

"what comes around goes around" I wish that statement was tested on the bar exam.

It's important for this poster to know how to lay a foundation, just in case. But I have also found the best attorneys, and many time the most successful, willing to just stipulate. There is no reason to extend a trial by 2 hours due to everyone needing to lay a foundation to something everyone already knows is going to be admitted. Are you really going to score major points cross exmaning the custodian of records who is furious he missed a day at work to testify that if the credit card statement says an amount is owed, that is what is owed? It just wastes everyone's valuable time and money.

*For any new practitioners the above only pertains to noncriminal trials. criminal trials are a different animal for different reasons, though you still shouldn't be a jerk*

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