A trial counsel's guide to preserving issues for appellate review.
Motions in Limine
A motion in limine does not preserve an issue for appeal. Trial counsel must object during the subsequent admission of an exhibit.
Witness Demonstrations or Nonverbal Reactions
If witnesses provide a demonstration or nonverbal reaction during their testimony, trial counsel must describe the demonstration or reaction for transcription into the record.
Trial counsel should proffer testimony or exhibits excluded by the trial court.
Exhibits Used at Trial
Trial counsel must submit for admission into the record those exhibits relied upon at trial. When the trial court allows an exhibit into evidence, trial counsel must be sure that the exhibit is actually placed into the record.
When a judge declines to give jury instructions that trial counsel requests, the instructions must be written down and entered into the record.
Off the Record Proceedings
Trial counsel must ensure to memorialize for the record any error that happens during off-the-record side-bar or in-chambers discussions.
Objections must be timely, made on clearly stated grounds and followed by a ruling by the court.
Starting the Appeals Process
If a client wants to pursue an appeal after trial proceedings, a timely notice of appeal needs to be filed.
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