In this blog we outline our process for taking a case to trial at DelSignore Law. All cases are different but in general this is out approach that we use in every case. Early on in the process, I start preparing the cross examination and outlining the closing statement. I like to do this early because it helps me see the direction of the case in terms of what evidence I need and what evidence I may want to try to exclude at trial or before trial through an evidentiary motion.
We prepare a trial notebook that consistent of the following for all cases. We have pictures of the scene, written opening, closing and cross examination questions, motions in liming, and copies of the police report. In all trial notebooks, I divide each section of the case with a color paper and put extra paper to use during trial. I also have a copy of the officer’s training manual if the case is an OUI that specifies when the officer was trained on the administration of field sobriety tests. I bring that manual to court in case an issue of impeaching the officer arises.
The binder would also include direct examination questions that I will ask any witness as well as copies of any medical records or evidence that I intend to use at trial. The trial folder consists of everything that I may use at trial. There are records and motions that I do not intend to use; I keep these out of the trial binder in case I need to find something during trial. When I have a transcript of an officer from a motion to suppress hearing, I will put the page number by the cross examination for anticipated impeachment. In other words, if the officer claims that my client has slurred speech during the trial, but did not recall slurred speech at the motion, on the slurred speech chapter of the cross, I would have motion hearing at page 32, to tell me quickly where to find the impeachment.
Things happen fast at trial, so you want to make sure whatever you need you can find immediately. It is very difficult to find something you are not sure of the location in front of a jury. When we have video, we bring a computer to play it on. While some courts have computers, I prefer to put my lab top in front of the judge or the jury rather than using the Court’s equipment. I have many times held my lab top in front of the jury.
An important part of my trial preparation is practicing the case out loud. I think this is critical, because when you rehearse out loud, you always come up with new ideas and better way to communicate.
If you are a lawyer and wish to talk about a case, feel free to contact me; I also follow us on Facebook to learn about upcoming events we host for lawyers. We typically host a free training once per year with a nationally recognized lawyer or expert in trial practice.