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  • Mrs. Carpenter is an elderly vicitm who was vicitmized by her stock broker after her husband Died. Keith Gregpry is the defendant and he stole about $300,000 from Mrs. Carpenter. This is a civil witness preparation but is still helpful to watch. Watch for things she did well Not so well
  • 1.Telling witness to leave out testimony 2.Changing her story 3. Different Words Not many cases have defined witness coaching 1. State V. McCormick NC Sup Ct. 298 SE 880 (1979) 2. In Re Eldridge (1880) NY sup Ct One Ethics opinon DC curcuit in 1979 approved of giving the witnesses different words if the changes were merely presuasive and did not change the meaning of the testimony.
  • PowerPoint

    1. 1. The Ethics and Tactics of Witness/Client Preparation for Trial Roberta K. Flowers Stetson University College of Law
    2. 2. Goals of this session <ul><li>Consider the practical issues in preparing clients and witnesses to appear in court </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the ethical issues of witness/client preparation. </li></ul><ul><li>Explore the tactical issues to consider when discussing trial or courtroom proceedings. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Video clip <ul><li>Witness preparation. </li></ul><ul><li>Civil case—trial. </li></ul><ul><li>Mrs. Carpenter sued her former financial advisor who embezzled a substantial amount of money. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Video
    5. 5. Preparing a witness for court <ul><li>Model Rule 1.1—Competent representation </li></ul><ul><li>Model Rule 1.4 – Communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thoroughness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preparation </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Witness preparation is the fundamental duty of representation and a basic element of effective advocacy
    7. 7. Preparing the client/witness for court <ul><li>Facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Individual needs </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures </li></ul>
    8. 8. Considerations with use of animals in the courtroom <ul><ul><li>Model Rule 3.4(e)– eluding to inadmissible issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model Rule 4.4—Respect for rights of others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No substantial purpose other then to embarrass, delay or burden third party. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model Rule 8.4 – Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Florida Rule 4-8.4 (d) including to knowingly or through callous indifference disparage, humiliate, or discriminate against litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel other lawyers on the basis of … physical characteristics. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. What should the lawyer have covered better?
    10. 10. Witness Preparation Information Gathering <ul><li>To investigate the facts </li></ul><ul><li>To find out what this victim knows and what they can testify to from personal knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>To determine how accurately the witness perceived the event and what conditions may have hindered or assisted his/her perception </li></ul>
    11. 11. Witness Preparation Purposes <ul><li>To test the witnesses memory </li></ul><ul><li>To discover how certain the witness is about what he remembers </li></ul><ul><li>To determine adverse or favorable conditions that may have affected the witness’s memory. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Witness Preparation Memory Issues <ul><li>To refresh the witness memory about facts he may have known but forgotten </li></ul><ul><li>To find out what documents or other tangible evidence or non-evidentiary stimulus will help refresh the witness memory </li></ul><ul><li>To test the witness’s ability to communicate his recollection </li></ul><ul><li>To find out what the witness means by words or expressions used in his story </li></ul>
    13. 13. Witness Preparation Credibility <ul><li>To test the witness’s truthfulness </li></ul><ul><li>To warn the witness that his credibility may be attacked and that his past acts may be exposed in open court </li></ul><ul><li>To ascertain if the witness has a good or bad character for truthfulness </li></ul><ul><li>To find out if the witness has previously been convicted of a crime that could be used to impeach his credibility </li></ul>
    14. 14. Witness Preparation Credibility <ul><li>To uncover instances of non-criminal conduct that could be used to impeach the witness’s credibility </li></ul><ul><li>To discover whether the witness’s story has been influenced by bias or prejudice </li></ul><ul><li>To discover whether the witness’s story has been influenced properly or improperly by the statements or conduct of other people. </li></ul><ul><li>To find out if the witness has made statements that are either consistent or inconsistent with his present story. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Witness Preparation Persuasiveness <ul><li>To test the witness’s demeanor in response to certain stimuli he may encounter when he is testifying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Harsh cross examination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Defendant </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Witness Preparation Inform the Witness <ul><li>To explain to the witness why he should listen to questions carefully </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not guess </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not volunteer information that has not been asked for </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>be alert to objections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advise the witness of appropriate attire and physical appearance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>distracting mannerisms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>inappropriate language and demeanor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>effective delivery of testimony </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Witness Preparation Inform the Witness <ul><li>To explain the role of the witness, the obligation imposed by the oath and the formality of the court proceedings </li></ul><ul><li>To inform the witness about the physical surroundings in which he will testify, the persons who will be present, and the logistics of being a witness </li></ul>
    18. 18. If I only have a limited amount of time what is the most important task to accomplish in a witness preparation meeting? <ul><li>A. Make the witness comfortable </li></ul><ul><li>B. Review the Witness’ story </li></ul><ul><li>C. Inform the witness about the proceedings </li></ul><ul><li>D. Discuss the cross examination and weakness in the case. </li></ul>
    19. 19. When should witness preparation occur <ul><li>A. Day of trial </li></ul><ul><li>B. A few days before trial </li></ul><ul><li>C. During the course of the case </li></ul><ul><li>D. All of the Above </li></ul>
    20. 20. Parts of Witness Preparation <ul><li>Initial intake </li></ul><ul><li>Prior to Depositions/pretrial motions </li></ul><ul><li>Final Preparation before Trial </li></ul>
    21. 21. Initial Intake/Client interview <ul><li>Fact gathering </li></ul><ul><li>Memory issues </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility issues </li></ul>
    22. 22. Prior to Deposition/Hearing <ul><li>Explain purpose and logistical details of proceeding </li></ul><ul><li>Memory issues </li></ul><ul><li>Review testimony </li></ul>
    23. 23. Final preparation <ul><li>Giving information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Specific information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Testimony preparation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Review reports, statements, depositions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct examination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross examination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“the real goal of witness preparation should be viewed not only as protection of the witness but as destruction of the opponent’s cross-examination. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    24. 24. The amount and type of witness preparation depends on who the witness is? <ul><li>False </li></ul><ul><li>True </li></ul>
    25. 25. Structure of final witness preparation <ul><li>Warm up </li></ul><ul><li>Witnesses greatest weapon is to tell the truth </li></ul><ul><li>General information about the proceeding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time, location, directions, where will I meet you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What you should wear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tour of the courtroom </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. Structure of the final witness preparation <ul><li>General information about testifying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demeanor/Looking like they are telling the truth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refreshing recollection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answering only question asked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Looking at jury </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use lay people language </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Structure of Final Witness Preparation <ul><li>General information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross examination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tell the truth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Think before you speak </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stay calm </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t try to our smart the attorney </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t use sarcasm </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What to say if defense attorney asks if you talked about your testimony </li></ul></ul></ul>
    28. 28. Structure of the Final Witness Preparation <ul><li>Review of testimony </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Witness review statement before begin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Question/Answer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pros </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General structure of the examination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opening statement </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. Structure of the final witness preparation <ul><li>Wrap up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remind of time and place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell the truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upbeat </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. “Witness preparation requires careful thought, genuine finesse and close attention to the highest standards of professional conduct”
    31. 32. Witness Preparation Rules of Professional Conduct <ul><li>3.3(a)(4) Offer evidence the lawyer knows to be false. </li></ul><ul><li>3.4(b) Falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely. </li></ul><ul><li>8.4(c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation. </li></ul>
    32. 33. Preparing vs. Coaching <ul><li>Prepare the witness to give “the witness’s testimony at trial not the testimony that the attorney has placed in the witness’ mouth.” </li></ul><ul><li>“To extract the facts from the witness, not pour them into him; to learn what the witness does know not to teach him what he ought to know.” </li></ul>
    33. 34. Mr. Gregory is arguing that he explained the power of attorney fully to Mrs. Carpenter before she signed it. Your theory is that he told her that the power of attorney only allowed him to reinvest the stocks not sell them. Which of the following would you tell Mrs. Carpenter about the law and defense theory:
    34. 35. <ul><li>A. Nothing I would just ask her what he told her. </li></ul><ul><li>B. I would first explain the purpose of a power of attorney and that it is important to the case that Mr. Gregory did not explain that to her, then ask her what he told her </li></ul><ul><li>C. I would first explain that it is important that Mr. Gregory lied to her about the power attorney, and then ask her what he told her. </li></ul><ul><li>D. Nothing, I would just ask her if he explained that a power of attorney would allow him to sell all of her stocks. </li></ul>
    35. 36. Tactics of witness preparation <ul><li>Too rehearsed </li></ul><ul><li>Affecting credibility issues </li></ul>
    36. 37. <ul><li>“ The moral fabric of an attorney is stitched out of the dozens -- hundreds -- of decisions that she makes each day. It is stitched out of the tone of voice she uses in talking to others, out of her choice of adjectives while writing a letter, out of the care she takes in describing what she represents as the truth of the matter. </li></ul>
    37. 38. It is stitched out of one decision after another, each of which is mundane in itself, but all of which combine to form the moral fabric of the attorney, and combine with like decisions of other attorneys to form the moral fabric of law firms and legal communities.”
    38. 39. A Search for Truth The advocate’s role

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