How Technology Impeached a Witness

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With today’s technology it has never been easier to remove the credibility of a witness. As a trial technician, I recently assisted a defense attorney in discrediting the opposing counsel’s expert witness to the point of impeachment.

Jane, the defense attorney, previously took the deposition of the opposition’s expert, Dr. Smith. During the deposition, Dr. Smith answered a few questions in ways that didn’t entirely support the plaintiff ’s position.

During trial preparation, my soft ware allowed us to quickly search for keywords and phrases within the transcript and create excerpts with corresponding videos. We were able to organize the excerpts into categories, such as “contradicting statements,” “claims that support us,” and “opinions that are likely to change at trial.” With an arsenal of videos to display, Jane was confident for cross-examination.

As anticipated, Dr. Smith changed some of his previous positions on the case. Most importantly, his new opinion on causality and how it was related to the accident. Fortunately, we were prepared. We knew exactly where to find the excerpts needed because they were organized in my trial soft ware.

Once Dr. Smith had concretely confirmed his new position, Jane questioned him on his previous statements. He quickly countered that the context of his statement was being incorrectly portrayed. Using the trial soft ware, we were able to display the transcript pages containing the contradictory statements and highlighted the sections of importance. Jane then followed up with the classic question, “How can your views change so significantly with no additional information?”

Once again, Dr. Smith avoided answering the question, claiming his tone was being incorrectly interpreted. Jane confidently played each video excerpt to the jury. Each excerpt was synchronized allowing the jury to read along without missing a single spoken word, hearing and seeing Dr. Smith’s response. For added impact, we included a clip of the doctor being sworn in at the deposition emphasizing he was under oath during his previous statements.

At this point, Dr. Smith was visibly flustered and backpedaling. He requested the videos be replayed hoping for a reason to discredit them. Jane was happy to oblige considering the videos were supporting her position. My trial soft ware allowed me to quickly jump between clips, pause as need ed, display the transcript and highlight key statements. Dr. Smith was unable to substantially retort his previous claims and firmly stuck to his new opinion. Jane appeared comforted by the jurors’ inquisitive gazes and head shakes as she questioned Dr. Smith.

Aft er showing that Dr. Smith’s previous statement had been given under oath and offered no substantial evidence supporting his change of opinion, Jane moved forward with the motion to impeach his testimony on the grounds of an inconsistent statement. The judge approved the motion and Dr. Smith’s testimony was dismissed. Opposing counsel losing their expert’s testimony led to a quick deliberation by the jury that resulted in victory for our client.

Larry Wright Advertising

Trial technology assisted us in winning the case and it could help you too. Trial technology is further empowered when run by a trial technician, such as myself. Trial technicians are a group of highly trained professionals that specialize in a variety of services including the creation of demonstrative exhibits, such as 3-D printer objects, trial boards and animations, audio/ visual support including the setup of projectors, televisions and computers, and trial presentation where a trial technician uses soft ware to enhance an attorney’s case. If you want to be a step ahead in your next trial, consider the help of a trial technician. Julian Perez

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