Model Witness Examinations.
Reviewed by Scott C. Speier
Model Witness Examinations provides valuable tips on properly eliciting admissible witness testimony at trial. The book is well organized and clearly written, and it provides readers with quick and easy access to specific topics of interest.
The authors, two Baltimore trial lawyers, have included numerous model witness examinations on a wide variety of evidentiary topics. Although the examinations, which are case and witness specific, would have to be tailored to meet the needs of a given case, they provide readers with a good idea of the types of questions that might be needed to establish the requisite evidentiary foundation leading to admissibility.
The comments that follow the model examinations are helpful and concise. The authors begin their analysis by discussing briefly the basic requirements that must be met to ensure admissibility. This analysis is supported by reference to the Federal Rules of Evidence and federal case law. Often, the authors conclude their remarks with references to alternative avenues of admissibility.
The book is divided into three parts: direct examination; cross-examination and redirect; and use of discovery devices in trial. The authors' discussion of direct examination includes numerous evidentiary scenarios designed to assist the trial lawyer in refreshing witness recollection; soliciting admissible opinions from lay and expert witnesses; introducing evidence of character, custom, and habit; and establishing the foundation necessary to support the admissibility of past recollection recorded, documentary evidence, photographic evidence, various records and reports, and demonstrative evidence.
The section on cross-examination will assist the reader in preparing to use prior inconsistent statements and learned treatises to impeach adverse witnesses. The authors also review methods of rehabilitating a witness whose credibility has been damaged through cross-examination.
The third section briefly addresses how lawyers can introduce depositions and interrogatories at trial to establish substantive evidence and to impeach opposing witnesses' statements.
For the seasoned practitioner, this book provides a useful reference for solutions to evidentiary problems and a helpful framework for developing witness examination in unfamiliar areas. For the novice, the book provides a basic guide for preparing examinations and meeting objections proffered for the sole purpose of undermining confidence and execution. All trial lawyers will find Model Witness Examinations a valuable addition to their legal libraries.
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|Author:||Speier, Scott C.|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Feb 1, 1998|
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