Essential Tips for Using Deposition Testimony in Court

When you exit the conference room after a successful deposition, you might already be planning how to best use the court reporter's transcript to prepare your case for trial. However, you shouldn't neglect to plan for the use of deposition testimony in front of the jury. Consider looking for legal videography services in Palo Alto, California to help you put together a courtroom-worthy presentation.

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Check the local court rules.

The introduction and use of deposition testimony in court is subject to state and local court rules. Always check these rules to ensure you are in full compliance. You may need to provide pretrial disclosures for any portion of the transcript you will use during the trial and for any legal videography you plan to introduce.

Lodge the official deposition transcript.

The court reporter will give the deposition witness and all the parties written notice when the original transcript is ready to be read, corrected, and signed. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, the deponent has 30 days to perform these actions. Then when the case is set to begin trial, the attorney who has custody of the original transcript must file the document with the court. In some cases, a transcript with the court reporter's certification may be lodged when the witness is introduced to testify.

Lay a foundation for the deposition testimony.

Before you can read part of the deposition testimony to the court, you must identify it for the court reporter's record and ask permission for yourself or your witness to read from it. In some cases, it may be appropriate to use foundational testimony. Foundational testimony serves to enlighten the jury about the significance of deposition testimony and any inconsistencies in the witness' statements. For example, you could ask the following questions:

  • Do you remember giving this testimony?
  • Do you recall being under oath to tell the truth?
  • Did you have an attorney present to represent you?

Then you can launch into a line of questioning that highlights the witness' inconsistent testimony. It may help your case to show a clip of video-recorded testimony from the deposition and compare it to the witness' testimony during the trial.

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