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How should the defendant's demeanor/attitude be in court?

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

Essentially, it can influence the jury. Should the defendant look sad, serious, remorseful?

My friend is on trial and she is writing notes, it looks arrogant and just "doing too much" I told her to cut if out. Her attorney is the only one that should be writing notes, correct? Her attitude can influence a jury?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    Do your friend a favor and don't interfere with the relationship she has with her attorney. Her lawyer may have asked her to take notes of the testimony for them to discuss during breaks in the proceedings. Does her taking notes send a message of any sort, let alone a bad one? Probably not, unless she's overly dramatic and scribbling furiously, scoffing and acting up.

    Look at the other side. If she just sits there, she could come across as disinterested.

    I can appreciate your concern, but I think the evidence and how the witnesses do is more important than whether or not she takes notes during the testimony.

    The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.

  2. The best person to answer that question is your friend's lawyer. Most of us are very sensitive to our client's demeanor and behavior during trial. Most lawyers will probably agree to make sure clients have a legal pad to write questions or empty their frustrations on paper rather than disturb counsel when having to concentrate on the events unfolding or causing some other negative impact on the jury.

    The information provided herein does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is to suggerst some general principles and should not be relied upon for client decisions. Only upon the hiring of counsel can such advice be custom-tailored to the client's specific situation and needs.

  3. I agree with both of these lawyers.. There is a level of attention that the defendant should have. She should take notes, and be interested and somewhat involved in the case. Her attitude can definitely influence a jury. If the jury hates her, it will be that much easier to convict her. I speak to jurors after trials and they always have something to say about the defendant. If her attorney does not notice things she does, bring it to his attention but let the two of them work it out.

  4. Your friend has an attorney for a reason, to advise her during all stages of the criminal proceedings including trial. I'm sure the attorney has advised her about proper court room decorum and demeanor. We don't know what she's charged with or her defense so it's impossible to know what emotions she should display. As a general matter defendants should well dressed and groomed and appear serious, interested, and respectful to everyone in court. Good luck.

  5. Arrogance is never good in front of jurors. Be honest with them and they will understand that you have a right to be concerned as an accused since your liberty is in jeopardy. Taking notes is perfectly fine as it shows that you are participating in and are concerned with the outcome of the trial.

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