Saint Louis University

Mock Trial Tips

DIRECT EXAMINATION

  • Listen to your witness!
  • Look at your witness when they answer & pretend that you're listening - even if you're not.
  • Your next question should follow from their previous answer.
  • Witnesses - talk to the judge.
  • Expert Witness
    • Qualify them
    • Ask their professional opinions

CROSS EXAMINATION

  • Never ask a question that you don't know the answer to.
  • Never ask "why".
  • Lead the witness - only yes or no questions.

ENTERING EVIDENCE

  1. Mark the piece of evidence - this will probably be done before trial.
    • "Your Honor, I would like to mark this evidence as People's/Defense exhibit 1/A, etc."
  2. Show to opposing counsel.
    • "Your Honor, please let the record reflect that I am showing opposing counsel what has been marked as P/D exhibit 1/a, etc."
  3. Ask permission to approach the witness.
    • "Your Honor, may I approach the witness?"
  4. Give the piece of evidence to the witness and lay a foundation as to how they can authenticate the piece of evidence.
  5. Enter the evidence.
    • "Your Honor, at this time I move to have P/D exhibit 1/a, etc. entered into evidence."
    • The Judge will ask opposing counsel for objections

Be prepared for possible lack of foundation or hearsay objection.

OBJECTIONS

  • Never look at opposing counsel - always at the judge.
  • Never talk over the judge.
  • Always ask the judge if you may respond to opposing counsel's argument.

IMPEACHMENT

  • Have the witness' affidavit out and easily accessible before your examination begins.
  • When the witness says something inconsistent with the affidavit - begin the impeachment process.
    1. Show opposing counsel.
      • "Your Honor, please let the record reflect that I am showing opposing counsel the witness' affidavit."
    2. Ask permission to approach the witness.
      • "Your Honor, permission to approach the witness?"
    3. Show the witness their affidavit.
      • "You remember making a statement in this case?"
      • "You knew to be completely truthful?"
      • "You were aware that you had a duty to update that affidavit if new information arose?"
      • "Please read along silently as I read aloud Line whatever."
    4. Read the line aloud.
    5. DO NOT ASK THE "SO" QUESTION!
      • You will be so tempted to ask "So, in your statement you said X but here in court you said Y, what do you really mean?
      • They will give you a nice long answer about the discrepancy and explain it away.
      • ARGUE THE INCONSISTENCY IN CLOSING ARGUMENT!
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