Tag Archives: testifying in Court

Do Not Answer a Question with “Sure.”

Testifying in Court can be hard. It causes stress, anxiety, and it is seldom a great experience. However, some responses should be eliminated from your vocabulary.

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(adjective) surer, surest.

1.  free from doubt as to the reliability, character, action, etc., of something:

to be sure of one’s data.

2.  confident, as of something expected:

sure of success.

3.  convinced, fully persuaded, or positive:

to be sure of a person’s guilt.
(Slang definitions & phrases for sure)
Yes; certainlySure, I’ll support you (1842+)
While a slang use for sure could mean yes, it does not sound like it in Court.
NOT GOOD
Q: Mr. Witness, don’t you agree that telling your child that the other parent is a deceitful, hateful train-wreck is inappropriate.
A: Sure.
It sounds dismissive. It could be treated as a “whatever” response. You do not want to create an impression with the Court that you do not take the matter seriously.
BETTER 
Q: Mr. Witness, don’t you agree that telling your child that the other parent is a deceitful, hateful train-wreck is inappropriate.
A: Yes, I did. It was wrong. I regret it. I will not discuss grown up things with the child again. I’m sorry for that.
This response is not dismissive. It answers the question. It demonstrates remorse and that the conduct will not repeat itself.
BEST*
Q: Mr. Witness, don’t you agree that telling your child that the other parent is a deceitful, hateful train-wreck is inappropriate.
A: Yes, I agree that would be inappropriate, but I never did that, nor would I.
This response is the best. It answers the question directly and advises the Court you did not do the conduct being complained of. (This response is only possible if it is the truth.*)
Of course you can say the word sure and use it in other responses, but it should likely not be a one-word response.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and is sure that you should not answer a question with “sure” most of the time.
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Don’t YELL in Court!

Sometimes we lose our cool…

stockimages/ freedigitalphotos.net

It happens to the best of us. “We” get excited, animated and emotional, but you need to try to keep that in check. Lawyers are guilty of this too!

Here’s the set-up. The Divorce Agreement provides that either “party shall receive advance notice of any out of state travel, overnight, with the minor child by the other parent.

Not an unreasonable clause. It does not require permission, but notice.

So, one parent, on multiple occasions does not give the other parent notice.  The unknowing parent finds out about the timing of the trips during their time with the child, after the trips have occurred.

What’s the harm you ask? Well, these parents live 2-states away from one another. Where was the undisclosed trip? Yes, the other parent’s home state, just a few hours away.  A great opportunity for a visit! But, alas it did not happen.

Upon questioning the parent defended not telling the other because the second parent did not ask. Here’s where the yelling comes in.

HOW DOES THE OTHER PARENT KNOW TO ASK ABOUT THE TRIP IF YOU DON’T TELL THEM ABOUT THE TRIP ?!?

Silence.

Read more on Rotten Parenting, Terrible Parenting and being a Terrible Person.

Matthew Thompson is a Chancery Court Attorney and warns clients and attorneys alike to not yell in Court.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms.

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Testimony in Court; Answering Yes or No.

Testimony is nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Courtroom sketch: Wired.com / Norman Quebedeau

A witness’s job is to tell the truth and answer the question asked.  It is not to guess, to anticipate, to make-up, or change the story.

Judges routinely get irritated with a witness when asked a “Yes or No” question , but the answer begins with, “You see, what had happened was…”

There are 2 different sets of Rules when testifying.

1) You are called by your attorney or are a “friendly” witness. Under these circumstances you may not be asked yes or no questions of material importance. If you are, the other side may object due to “leading.”  That is asking a question which suggest the answer.

Lawyer 1: You witnessed Jimmy kissing Jane, didn’t you?

Lawyer 2: Objection. Leading.

Judge: Sustained. Don’t lead your witness.

Lawyer 1: (asked one at a time)How do you know Jimmy? How do you know Jane? On what occasions, if any, have you seen them together?

2) When you are called by the adverse lawyer or are deemed a “hostile witness” then the questioning attorney may use leading questions.

Lawyer 2: You witnessed Jimmy kissing Jane, didn’t you?

Lawyer 1: Objection. Leading.

Judge: He’s on Cross Examination. The witness may answer.

Witness: Yes. (explain if allowed)

If the question can be answered with a Yes or a No, then you as a witness need to answer Yes or No. The Court will allow you to explain your answer, if necessary.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and can handle the truth.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms.

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