Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Interesting Dilemma...

I have a hypothetical for you today! I know you're super excited about getting to answer a legal question, but I promise it's not hard...and I'll try not to get super involved in unnecessary details. Here goes...

During trial, an attorney can invoke "The Rule" (literally, that's what it's called). Basically, it means that all witnesses will be excluded from the trial so they can't hear the testimony of other witnesses. Also, when witnesses are under "The Rule," they are not allowed to talk to other witnesses, the parties, or read news reports, transcripts of other witnesses' testimony, etc. Basically, it's almost like sequestering a jury. One of the punishments for a witness violating the rule is the exclusion of that witnesses' testimony.

Now, imagine that you are an attorney in the case. The other party is examining a witness. You hear the door open, and you turn your head to find out that one of your witnesses has entered the courtroom. Clearly, your first goal is to figure out how to get the witness out of the courtroom without causing a huge disturbance. That's a no-brainer, right?

But here's where it gets interesting...

Suppose that, instead of seeing one of your witnesses walk in, it's one of the opposing party's witnesses. Also imagine that the opposing counsel doesn't notice.

What do you do?

Here are your options: (1) stop the proceedings and alert the court that a witness has entered the courtroom; (2) do nothing; or (3) start taking notes, recording the time that the witness entered the courtroom, whether the witness appears to be paying attention to the testimony, looking around, etc., and what testimony was being given.

Would you like to take bets on what we were told to do by our professor? I'll give you a hint - I can basically guarantee you that it's not the answer you chose. :)

You wanna change your answer to #3? Cause according to our professor, that's the way to go...

I pick #1. If I'm going to win a trial, I want to do it because I legitimately have the better case, not because I'm playing games with trial strategies and trying to get the other party's evidence excluded.

If I'm going to beat you, I'm going to do it while playing fair. :)

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