Stop Writing on Exhibits and Pictures

(Attorney hands witness a document)

Q:  Is this a true and accurate copy?

A: Yes…uhm, no…I don’t know whose writing this is. I don’t know what this means…

Opposing Attorney: Objection. It’s obviously not a true copy, as the original does not have writing and marks on it.

Court: Objection, sustained.

Court rules on Evidence do not always make sense. Something that is obvious to you and most reasonable persons may very well violate the requirements of authentication of documents.

In almost every case witnesses write on documents and pictures. You think highlighting where he called you a “piece of work” adds emphasis. It may just render that email useless. Yes, even circling the curse words and disparaging comments can render that exhibit not authentic.

Do not write on the email chain, do not use sharpie on the photographs (certainly not the actual photograph). So how do you show empahsis?

Use Post-It notes. Use as many as your heart desires. Use multiple per email. Use different colors of Post-It notes. Use different sizes. Have at it!

Matthew Thompson is a civil trial lawyer and wants you to be able to use ALL of your exhibits.

Thompson Addison, pllc. (601)850-8000

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