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During punishment today, the defendant's sister was testifying. I logged into the DPS website and was looking up the witness's criminal history while defense counsel was doing direct. The witness admitted to some of the convictions on her criminal history, but conveniently left out several felonies.

So on cross, I said, "Ms. ---, you weren't entirely truthful with this jury about your criminal history, were you?"

Defense counsel jumped up, objecting to "matters outside the record" which was overruled. Then he pointed at my counsel table and said, "Your Honor, I'd like the record to reflect that the District Attorney is LOOKING AT SOMETHING on her computer screen while she's asking questions of the witness."

The judge said, "Well, yes, I guess the record will reflect that the District Attorney has her computer out and she appears to be looking at something on it."
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Granbury, Texas | Registered: August 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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How dare you!
 
Posts: 444 | Location: Austin, Texas, USA | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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At least I wasn't shopping on Victoria's Secret online or something.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Granbury, Texas | Registered: August 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know. That was pretty audacious using a computer in the courtroom. Please don't take anything to read into a courtoom again.
 
Posts: 444 | Location: Austin, Texas, USA | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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BAR - you definitely had to be there. And you have to understand the wacky objections this attorney makes. Sometimes the judge even sustains them and we can't figure out why.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Granbury, Texas | Registered: August 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Apparently the attorney is unfamiliar with computer-assisted (aided) questioning. Would have been even more fun if the judge had required a formal bill of exception. Seems this attorney is indeed convinced that you never know what you will get until (unless) you ask.
 
Posts: 2335 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And that stuff requires the use of a computer, right?
 
Posts: 6 | Location: Texas | Registered: April 20, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The following recently occurred in a trial in my jurisdiction:

Me: Objection judge, calls for hearsay.

Defense: Judge, I'm not offering it for the truth of the matter asserted, just to show what she said.

Judge: Sustained.

Defense: I really think I should be allowed to ask that your honor.

Judge: Could you please point me to the hearsay exception in the rules of evidence that you think applies to the statement?

Defense: Judge, I don't think my cross examination should be restricted by the rules of evidence on hearsay.

Me: Eek
 
Posts: 146 | Location: Vernon, Texas | Registered: February 02, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Really, Staley, the rules of evidence are just a suggestion--rather like the traffic signals in Under the Tuscan Sun!
 
Posts: 444 | Location: Austin, Texas, USA | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They're really more like "guidelines"...
 
Posts: 1114 | Location: Waxahachie | Registered: December 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have had a defense attorney move for a directed verdict after my first witness in a jury trial. I didn't really know how to respond except, "Well, your Honor, uh, I have a few more witnesses to call before the State rests...." The Judge was gracious enough to allow me this opportunity. I wanted to tell the defense attorney, "The One Witness Rule lets me prove my case with one witness, not forces me..."
 
Posts: 66 | Location: Travis County, TX, USA | Registered: August 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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All I can say is, if the defense attorneys are making these wacky objections and motions it either means (1) the attorney is an idiot or (2) we're doing such a good job on our cases that they are desperate to try anything. (That one is my personal favorite.)
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Granbury, Texas | Registered: August 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Defense Counsel: "Objection, your Honor, that evidence is very damaging to my client!"

The Court: "Well Counsel, I would have to agree. Overruled."
 
Posts: 218 | Location: The Border | Registered: April 08, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We actually hear that "very damaging" objection except it's stated as "highly prejudicial." And said with a straight face.
 
Posts: 514 | Location: Del Rio, Texas | Registered: April 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Make an objection about the prejudicial effect outweighing the probative value in front of a jury without riveting the jury's attention to the evidence? Unless you have a very inexperienced or reckless prosecutor, the objection is seldom successful. I think the only time I have seen a deft defense counsel in action on the subject is to say: "Objection, Rule 403". Of course, the theatrical effect (for the client's benefit) is largely lost.........
 
Posts: 218 | Location: The Border | Registered: April 08, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think that has to be done outside the jury's presence for best effect.
 
Posts: 1114 | Location: Waxahachie | Registered: December 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree, and so seldom do I see defense counsel ask that the jury be excused..............
 
Posts: 218 | Location: The Border | Registered: April 08, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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During termination trial, Parent was on the stand--being difficult and telling me that she didn't understand my questions (to just about every question I asked after having her state her name and the name of her child). So, trying to figure out which word she didn't understand in the latest question, I asked, "Do you know what 'unrealistic' means?" Parent's attorney jumped up and loudly said, "Objection! Hearsay!" Everyone in the courtroom, including the jury stared open mouthed at him. Judge overruled--and she did NOT know what 'unrealistic' meant.
 
Posts: 107 | Location: Wichita Falls, TX | Registered: February 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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