One of the most important aspects of conducting a jury trial is learning how to take notes during the direct examination of the Prosecutions witnesses. During this aspect of the jury trial there are lots of things going on. The defense attorney is trying to listen to what the witness says, they are listening for an objectionable questions by the Prosecution, they are listening to their client, and observing the jury during important topics.
However what is most often overlooked during the defense attorneys preparation of a trial is how to properly take notes during this examination, and then how to formulate questions in response to those notes. For those that do not have a system in taking notes it become overwhelming trying to follow everything that is going on lam bang gia.
Here are a list of do’s and dont’s when listening to the Prosecutions direct examination.
Dont: Dont write down everything you hear. Far too often I see younger attorneys furiously taking notes during the Prosecutions direct examination. They are trying to write down everything the arresting officer has to say. There are two problems with this. If you’re constantly writing then inevitably something will be missed, either an important piece of information, or an objection. Either way that is not good. Secondly if you have conducted a thorough investigation, and interivew of the witness then you should know everything they are going to testify too. Why waste time writing all of that down. Which brings me to my next point.
Do: Only write down something you did not know. Again if you have conducted a proper interview then you know everything the Officer should say. If they deviate from that, or testify to something that is inconsistent, or something that cannot be corroborated then those are the things you need to write down, and formulate questions from. Those are the areas ripe for cross examination and they must be exploited.
Do: Immediately write down one or two words to trigger a question based on the Prosecutions testimony and then move on. Don’t try to phrase it perfectly, or get bogged down writing some lenghtly question. Again there are so many things going on, you need to be able to look at your notes and have them trigger a follow up question you can ask during your cross examination.
Overall there is no right or wrong way to take during this stage. But it is important to have a system in place, and make sure to follow it during the direct examination. This will enable you to not only listen better to everything that is going on, but it will also make you a better trial attorney.