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The Order of Trial is Important to Remember - Part 5 - Trial Strategy

Posted by attorney Theodore Robinson

I always use a simple visual aide I developed to prove my point about not everything you hear or see first is the whole story or correct. During jury selection I hold up a piece of cardboard (the back of a yellow pad) with a circle drawn on one side and a star drawn on the other side. I stand at the lecturn and hold up the cardboard so that only jurors 1-3 can see the star side and only 4-6 can see the circle side. I then ask number 1 juror what he/she sees. I usually get a response of "I see a star" and I correct them and say "You mean a piece of cardboard with a star on it, right?" and they say "Yes." At this point all the other jurors on the other side start to smile. I then ask number 6 juror what he/she sees and am told a circle. That's when I "spring the trap" and point out to the jury that when they only see on side of the cardboard its like only hearing one side of the story. You never know the entire story until you hear both sides of it. If I don't think my client will be taking the stand, then I turn it against the prosecutor by saying, "You never know the truth until you hear the cross-examination - the questions the witnesses haven't heard before." This also gives the jurors the opportunity to realize that witnesses are prepared by the prosecutor before they testify which adds a different flavor to their testimony later when I ask them about being prepared to testify.

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