Monder Law Group - News
Ways to Help your Attorney During Trial
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime and is facing a trial, you are probably feeling overwhelmed. Despite the stress you may feel, it is time to think strategically, help your attorney, and to follow the well-intentioned advice of your attorney.
Your attorney is working tirelessly to formulate, present your defense, and hold the prosecution to their burden of proving their case. Although your attorney has the legal knowledge and experience to defend you, there are some things you can do to help your attorney during trial.
It’s important to listen to everything that all the witnesses have to say and to take very detailed notes. Prosecutors are not allowed to surprise defendants with witnesses that are not on the witness list. Prosecutors must disclose the names of all witnesses and experts that they intend to call at trial. The defense also must do the same thing. If the prosecutor calls a witness to the stand that was not on the witness list, there is the possibility this witness will not be able to testify.
Also, the defense must have received information on what a prosecution witness will testify about. Usually, a prosecutor will have their investigator interview a witness, write a report, and then give that report to the defense. If the witness testifies on the stand about additional information that was not in the report or other documents, the defense may try to strike the testimony or in an extremely prejudicial situation, move for a mistrial.
Both the defense and the prosecution must be aware of the information a particular witness will testify about. Neither the defense nor the prosecution can be completely surprised. Many times, the prosecution will provide the defense with a supplemental report with additional information the prosecutor expects the witness will testify to that was not included in the original investigative report. This avoids any surprises in the courtroom.
Another thing to watch out for is exculpatory evidence. Exculpatory evidence is evidence favorable to the defendant which clears or tends to clear the defendant of guilt. This is the opposite of inculpatory evidence which tends to prove guilt.
Prosecutors have the duty, under the United States Constitution to turn over to the defense exculpatory evidence that would raise a reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. You can help your attorney by telling him or her if you are aware that the prosecution has not done this.
To sum up, there are ways you can help your attorney during a criminal trial. One way is to take notes on witnesses who testify in order to make sure that witness was on the witness list and is not testifying about more information the defense was not already aware of. The other you can help your attorney is by alerting him or her when the prosecution has not turned over exculpatory evidence about you if you are aware of this.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, CONTACT SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY VIK MONDER AT 619.405.0063 or VISIT CRIMINAL TRIAL ATTORNEY