Tag Archives: testimony

Don’t Write on Exhibits/Photographs

Q:  Is this a true and accurate copy?

A: No. I don’t know whose writing this is…I don’t know what those circles mean…

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

Court: Sustained.


Court rules can be tediously picky. If something isn’t phrased the right way, authenticated sufficiently, or previously produced, if requested, you may not be able to use it. This is true even if it is something important, reliable and tangible to the issues before the Court. This is just one reason why Court is so frustrating.

I had a case where the witness highlighted certain portions of an email. When the time came to testify about the email, the other party pretended to not recognize it, nor remember it.  He wasn’t sure if he used that email address at that time. He certainly knew he didn’t highlight it and wasn’t sure he had seen it before. It was a dance of avoiding the obvious.

Ultimately, the email came in when the sponsoring party testified and I believe the other party lost credibility in feigning ignorance, however it was a good lesson on the rules/tricks of Court.

Matthew Thompson is  a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and encourages you to practice, with your attorney, your testimony and how to authenticate an exhibit and get it into evidence.


Careful of Your Online Footprint…

What goes on the internet stays on the internet!

Flim Flam – Steve Robertson

I recently read the book Flim Flam. One theme that stuck out was that your activities through electronic devices leaves a footprint that can be traced back to you.

This is a good lesson for persons maneuvering a family law matter. Your digital footprint will lead back to you.

Hillary Clinton and Tom Brady know this and you should too.

Just like in real life, your mother told you (or divorce attorney) not to go places you don’t need to go. Well, don’t go there electronically either.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi cautioning you that your digital footprint may lead straight back to you.



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.


(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.
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.
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.
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.