When a deponent wants to change his or her deposition testimony from what the transcript reflects, there are several factors to consider. Although changing the testimony is per California law, doing so is not always in the best interest of your case. After you receive a transcript of testimony from your court reporter in San Jose and discover that your client needs to make a change, here is what you need to know.
What are some reasons for correcting depositions?
Generally, the reason to consider changing deposition testimony is to make sure it accurately reflects everything that the deponent knows about the case. If the original testimony left out important details or could otherwise be misinterpreted, correcting it during the deposition review prevents the need for the deponent to have to change his or her testimony during trial. Substantive errors about facts of the case or transcription mistakes that change the meaning of the testimony can all adversely affect a case, even before it gets to trial, if depositions are used in pretrial hearings and negotiations. For these reasons, correcting a deposition that contains errors could be advantageous.
What are the drawbacks of correcting depositions?
Although correcting a deposition prevents the opposing counsel from pointing out inconsistencies in testimony at trial, the need to correct testimony even during the deposition review opens the door for the opposing counsel to call all of that deponent’s testimony into question as unreliable. Making corrections could also highlight a weakness in your case that might otherwise have gone unnoticed by the opposing counsel. When you make corrections to any part of a deponent’s testimony, you could inadvertently miss small details that should have been updated during the change as well, which can cast the testimony as unreliable overall.
How can you decide whether to correct a deposition?
Correcting small changes, such as typos or other minor transcription errors, is easily accomplished without impacting your case. For more substantive changes, you must weigh the value of correcting the transcript before trial and potentially opening up new challenges in the case to the impact of changing testimony on the stand during the trial.
During a deposition, the conference room generally holds only the deponent, examiner, deponent’s counsel, and the court reporter. Other attorneys may be present, depending on the case. Legal depositions aren’t generally entertaining affairs that attract eager viewers, but in some cases, it may be appropriate to rent a larger conference room in Palo Alto, California, to seat additional people.
If there is a language barrier, it is necessary to have an interpreter present. Ideally, that interpreter should have extensive experience working in legal settings, and he or she should have general knowledge of industry-specific terms that may come up. It’s also a good idea to have a videographer present to capture a visual record of the deposition. The examiner may decide to have a portion of the video recording admitted into court as evidence to be shown to the jury. Less commonly, an expert or consultant may attend the deposition. They may be asked to lend their expertise on particularly technical subjects. If the presence of a consultant is not desirable, the attorney may suspend the deposition and request a court order to exclude the unwanted party.
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.
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.
Every deposition is different, but there is some critical information that you will want on in the transcript, no matter who is testifying. As you focus on crafting your questions for your deposition, don’t lose sight of the basic information you need the court reporter to transcribe about every witness you depose. Get ready for your deposition in San Jose by making sure these questions are on your list.
Have you ever been arrested, and if so, were you convicted?
In almost every instance, you should ask about the arrest and conviction record of every witness you depose. This information could have an impact on the case at hand, and it could call into question the reliability of a witness. The answer to these questions can also be helpful if the case goes to trial and you need to impeach a witness on the stand. You should do your own research into the arrest and conviction records of the witnesses before you depose them, so you know what to expect and can recognize any incorrect information the witness provides during the deposition.
Have you ever testified in a deposition or trial?
It is always helpful to know if a witness has testified in a case before this deposition. First, it can give you an indication of how nervous or composed the witness may be. Knowledge of past testimony experience can also give you insight into the witness’ role in past cases and if he or she was considered to be truthful. This information can help shape your approach during your deposition.
How did you prepare for this deposition?
By questioning the witness about how he or she prepared for the deposition, you can identify areas in which he or she may have underprepared, so you can focus on those parts of the case. Finding out how the witness prepared may reveal to you what parts of the case the opposing attorney views as the most important. Be sure to also ask who was present when the witness prepared with the attorney, because having a third-party present can mean that privilege was waived.
An interpreter can play an important role in depositions of non-English-speaking witnesses. Often, when you hire a court reporter in San Jose, he or she can provide recommendations or make the arrangements for an interpreter in the language you need. When you hire an interpreter , there are a few strategies that can help you work with them more effectively.
Watch this video for advice for speaking through an interpreter. First, be sure to hire an interpreter who is court-certified or registered, depending on the language spoken by the witness in your depo. Speak clearly and slowly enough that your interpreter can easily understand you. Face the person you are questioning, rather than the interpreter, to engage him or her, especially if you are questioning someone via video conference. Be sure to watch for cues from the interpreter for when to stop and allow time for the translation to take place.
People who serve on a jury are not picked by hand, and they will need to understand the case in order to make a fair judgment. This can be especially tricky when it comes to specialized concepts that the average person might not understand, but video conferencing solutions near the Bay Area can be of help. Working with quality court reporting services is your best bet, as they can help ensure that everyone in the courtroom understands the point you are trying to make. Keep reading for a quick look at helping jurors understand technical concepts.
Describing specialized concepts out loud may be enough for some people, but in a court case it’s crucial that everyone adequately understands the information being presented. If you are working with information that is not familiar to most people, you might want to prepare exhibits that you can use to illustrate key concepts. Thanks to modern technology, this can include pictures, videos, and even animations. You can quickly refer back to these elements throughout the case so that everyone on the jury can refresh their memory when necessary. Helping jurors understand technical concepts is crucial when it comes to arriving at a verdict and achieving justice.
Today’s court reporters in Silicon Valley have much more to deal with than professional court reporters of just a few years ago. The constantly booming presence of technology in our lives and our society has changed the way courtroom presentations are held in a multitude of ways. Modern technology allows people from all over the world to communicate with ease, which can be invaluable in the courtroom. It also lets you share information accurately and efficiently, and it’s less prone to malfunctions. Feel free to continue reading to see just how technology has changed trial prep and court reporting services.
Bridging the Gap
It is not always possible to have everyone you would like to be present with you in the courtroom, which has become a much easier issue to deal with, thanks to modern technology. Today’s video streaming services allow people from all over the world to communicate face to face when they can’t be together in person. This can significantly simplify things when it comes to trial preparation. When preparing for trial, you can consult professionals, conduct interviews, and gather evidence through live video. Technology keeps people more connected than ever, and this can be used to your advantage in the courtroom.
In the past, the court reporter’s stenographic record was the only objective way to refer back to statements that were made on the record and during the trial. Today’s video and audio recording technology can also provide access to previously made statements in addition to the reporter’s official transcript. Your court reporter can also ensure that people speak in turn and one at a time to ensure that the recordings are easy to interpret, further improving accuracy.
Gone are the days when attorneys would use actual slideshows and tapes to make their cases. Now there is an app for just about everything you could possibly imagine, and there are plenty apps available that can help lawyers and court reporters alike. Having all of your files on a mobile device makes them easy to pull up at a moment’s notice, which may come in handy during your presentation.
It’s absolutely essential for everyone involved in a court case to understand exactly what’s going on, as this is the only way that justice can be served. This can be tricky when people speak different languages, which is where court interpreters in San Jose can be of help. There are a few things you should know about your interpreting services, however. Since some words and terms may not translate perfectly into another language, you might not get a verbatim interpretation, and be prepared to have your words interpreted while you speak. Interpreter certification is required for the more common foreign languages, and interpreters are required to make certain statements at depositions where no judge is present. Here’s what lawyers need to know about court interpreting services.
They May Not Be Verbatim
When it comes to courtroom interpreting, what you say may not be translated word for word. A literal translation may not be best for a given situation, and it can cause confusion. This can happen when a person uses slang that would not logically translate word for word, and it can also happen when there are expressions that exist in one language but not in another. In those situations, your court interpreter will accurately translate the overall idea rather than the individual words.
Bilingual Doesn’t Mean Certified
Court interpreters must be bilingual, but being bilingual doesn’t make you a court interpreter. When you look for a court interpreter to work with, make sure the individual you choose is certified when dealing with a language where certification is required. Court interpreting might involve legal jargon that the average bilingual person doesn’t understand, which could confuse the matter rather than clarify it.
Interpretation May Happen Simultaneously
In many cases, a court interpreter will translate the speech immediately as it’s spoken. This means that there will be essentially no lag between the beginning of the speaker’s statement and the translation that ensues. Although this is done if requested, there are other cases in which the interpreter will wait before beginning the interpretation. The interpreter will wait until the questions and answers have been completed before beginning the translation.
Video conferencing is transforming the way that legal practices handle their cases. Watch this video, which discusses how video conferencing is changing education, to find out some of the benefits of these remote conferences.
Video conferencing allows meetings to occur over long distances without traveling. For legal practices, video conferencing makes it possible for depositions to happen with remote witnesses without the expense and inconvenience of traveling. It can also allow lawyers in different locations to collaborate on cases with ease.
At Pulone Reporting Services , our skilled court reporters in Palo Alto, California are trained in video conferencing solutions and can assist you in setting up a conference room and other tools you will need for remote depositions. To learn more about our services, please call (408) 280-1252.
Discovery is the investigative phase of preparing for a lawsuit. It takes place before a trial begins and outside of the courtroom, usually involving depositions that can occur face-to-face or remotely with video conferencing technology . It’s common for clients to have questions about what happens during discovery and what they will need to reveal about their case. Here are the answers to some common questions about the discovery process.
What information is shared during discovery?
Generally, any information that is relevant to the case, even if only tangentially, has to be provided to the opposing side during discovery, if it is requested. Only information that is legally protected or privileged is exempted. This information may include anything a witness saw, heard, or said that is relevant to the case; the identity of anyone who may have additional information about the case; and any documents that relate to the dispute. Only information that was obtained through privileged conversations, such as between husband and wife or lawyer and client, is excluded from discovery. In some cases, information that violates someone’s privacy, such as information about health or sexual orientation, is exempt as well. Sometimes, the court may require that information be disclosed during discovery but may bar the other side from sharing it and leave it out of the court record to protect confidential or private information.
How is information obtained during discovery?
Depositions are part of most discovery processes. They can happen in a central location in person, or they may be conducted via video conferencing. A court reporter will record the deposition as the attorneys question witnesses to obtain information. Interrogatories are similar to depositions, except that the questions are written, but answers are still given under oath. The attorneys may also ask for specific evidence and request admission of certain facts so that the two sides don’t need to argue about basic, agreed-upon information.
Pulone Reporting Services can make your discovery process easier with conference room rentals, legal transcription, and court reporting in Palo Alto, California and the Silicon Valley area. To schedule one of our services, please call (408) 280-1252.
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