Hearsay is basically ANYTHING that is said outside of the Courtroom by ANYBODY. It also includes writings, documents and many other things.
Most commonly hearsay occurs during witness testimony. Mom is testifying about how scared Beverly was when dad left her with the new and strange babysitter. However, mom did not see nor meet the babysitter. She didn’t even know she existed. Mom was trying to say that Beverly said the babysitter said “….”
Attorney: OBJECTION, HEARSAY.
Judge: SUSTAINED. DON”T TELL ME WHAT THE CHILD SAID OR WHAT THE BABYSITTER SAID.
The babysitter has to come testify or mom has to describe Beverly after dad’s weekend.
Mom: She came home distressed and sullen. Her eyes were red, as if she’d been crying.
Beverly told her what happened, so she called dad. Now mom can say what dad said because he and she are the parties to the case, an exception to the hearsay rule.
Your attorney should practice your testimony and how to deal with hearsay. You may always describe what you personally observed, what you did and what you said, and this is the way to possibly get around hearsay and/or having other witnesses involved testify.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and encourages you to practice your testimony and telling your story without saying what somebody told you.
The Judge. The (near) Final Ruler on all legal disputes that cannot be resolved otherwise. There is likely not a more misunderstood and much maligned position. Judges are expected to know-it-all and get it right every time, all the while without acting like a know-it-all. Judges have multiple roles in hearings and trials. Judges have these tasks, among others;
Determines whether the correct legal procedures were followed.
Determines to some extent the procedures for conducting the Court Room.
Determines the witness’ credibility- whether they are truthful or not.
Determines the admissibility of evidence and the weight it should be given.
Whether an attorney’s stated objection to something being introduced or considered is legally proper.
Whether there is a reason to overrule said objection.
How a witness is treated by the opposing attorney.
How the attorneys treat one another.
Maintaining Order among the chaos that the stress, anxiety and emotion that Court brings out of people.
Judges have a large responsibility and the buck stops with them (…mostly, though Appellate relief may be possible). Judges are also human (mostly, I think) and have to adjudge your case based on snap shots presented. Your attorney and your side put a smiley face on your case and a frowny face on the other and the other side does the opposite. The Judge, after a relatively short amount of time, will then make a decision that could very well impact you for the next 20 years or the rest of your life.
Judges try to get it right and are bound to base their rulings on the law as it currently reads applied to the admitted facts and evidence presented. Their decision cannot be based on things not “of record,” meaning facts or evidence not introduced, nor can the Judge do what they or you think the law should be, but rather must apply the law as it is.
Matthew Thompson is a Domestic Relations Attorney in Mississippi and like the old saying goes,”A Good Lawyer knows the law, a Great Lawyer knows the Judge!”
Witness: And then my neighbor said that he was f….
Lawyer: Objection, your Honor. Hearsay.
Judge: Sustained. Don’t tell me what somebody said.
Hearsay happens everyday. Hearsay, by definition, is any out of Court statement used to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Huh? Yep, legal mumbo-jumbo. Think of hearsay as ANYTHING that is said outside of the Courtroom by ANYBODY. It also includes writings, documents and many, many things, but that is a blog for another day. Today it’s about testimony.
Most commonly hearsay occurs anytime a witness is telling their story. It is very difficult to tell what happened and who did what without saying what was said. This is very frustrating for witnesses, irritating for Judges and something a lot of attorneys woefully ill prepare for. If you are a witness testifying just know that you cannot say what somebody else said unless they are a party in the case.
So, when mom is testifying about how upset little johnny was when dad dropped him off late for the baseball game, but mom did not see it and was relying on the assistant coach telling her, she can’t say what the assistant coach told her. Either the assistant coach has to come testify or mom has to describe little johnny after the game. “He came home sullen, eyes red, as if he’d been crying.” Little Johnny told her what happened. So she called dad. Now she can talk about the call with dad and who said what because they are the parties. Confused yet?
Hearsay and testimony is something you need to practice handling with your attorney. You may always describe what you did and said and this is the way around hearsay and/or having the other witnesses involved testify.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and encourages you to practice your testimony and telling your story without saying what somebody else said.
Follow the blog: BowTieLawyerVisit the website: Thompson Law FirmYou may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms