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Trial: Direct Examination: Rules of Effective Dir. Exam.

This Guide, prepared by the Robert M. Spire American Inn of Court, presents resources for conducting a direct examination.

Rules of Effective Direct Examination

The sources included in this section discuss the rules of effective direct examination including: preparing witnesses, ordering witnesses, types of witnesses, and examples of effective direct examination.

A. Trial Techniques, Eighth Edition [Electronic Resource], Thomas A. Mauet.

1. Description

a. This textbook is a comprehensive overview of direct examination beginning with the basic elements of any direct examination.

b. Includes a discussion of 5 different types of witnesses: (1) occurrence witnesses; (2) records witnesses; (3) character witnesses; (4) adverse witnesses; (5) hostile witnesses.

c. Includes discussion of specific tools of direct examination: (1) telephone conversations; (2) refreshing a witnesse's recollection; (3) opinions of lay witnesses; (4) the use of depositions, transcripts and video tapes; (5) judicial notice and stipulations; (6) redirect examination.

B. Direct Examination: Making the Facts Understandable, by Frank C. Jones and Chilton Davis Varner.

1. Description

a. This article includes a very good discussion of how to use witnesses in their proper place to advance the theme of the case, how to prepare the witness to testify, and how to direct your witness when they are going off track.

C. Direct Examination of a Physician (original source unknown).

1. Description

a. This is a detailed outline on the questions to ask a physician called as an expert witness.

D. An In-Depth Look at Direct Examination of Expert Witnesses, by Deborah D. Kuchler.

1. Description

a. This article includes a discussion of the value and purpose of deposing an expert, as well as practical pointers on deposing an expert. 

b. Outlines the steps for obtaining an opinion by an expert during direct and the method for establishing that opinion.

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