Category Archives: EVIDENCE

ADMISSIBILITY OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL) REPORTS: How to overcome hearsay objections (20-01)

Almost every GAL report I have ever read included statements made by the parties as well as the child(ren). Sometimes those statements can be extremely prejudicial, especially those made by young children (many of whom are too young or otherwise unable to testify in court).

Statements such as: “I saw daddy hit mommy in the face” or “daddy touches my privates late at night” or “I get mad at mommy because she leaves me home alone” or “when mommy gets really mad she slaps my face and it hurts”.

Because those type of statements could form the basis for charging a party with a criminal offense, many defense attorneys will vehemently demand those statements be stricken from the report arguing that they constitute inadmissible hearsay.

Whether you are a prosecutor or a Guardian Ad Litem, how do you plan on responding to the hearsay objection? And if you are the presiding judge what legal analysis do you apply to reach a proper ruling?

The attached Training Update answers all those questions and also provides prosecutors and Guardians with a sample in-court script to follow.

Click here for a print ready copy of Update 2020-1

Please feel free to share this update with other prosecutors, guardians or judges that might benefit from it.

IMPEACHMENT: PRIOR INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS – 8 Judicial Observations and 2 Sample Impeachment Scripts (15-10)

 

BB_MAS_Article_illustration_cNote for Judges Willing to Mentor and Educate: As most trial judges know, many attorneys do not know how to properly impeach a witness using a deposition or other prior inconsistent statement. Following jury trial many attorneys ask the presiding judge for constructive criticism on the attorney’s performance during trial. These post-trial judicial critiques are golden opportunities for the judge (if willing) to mentor and educate a young attorney. This training update and sample impeachment scripts are intended to serve as a set of general principles and guidelines for trial attorneys to learn and follow.

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PendletonUpdate15-10