Woodlands Criminal Defense Attorney - What should you have on your table at trial?
The Woodlands Texas, Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Foley shares his thoughts on jury trials and how to prepare your table.
Today's article gets down to the fine details of preparing for a trial. What should you have on your table at a trial? Well that depends on what you are trying to show the jury. Everything that is done in a courtroom by lawyers should be done intentionally so that it helps support the arguments in the case and how you want the jury to perceive those arguments.
You might decide that, because you have boxes and boxes of evidence, you want a couple of these boxes on your counsel table where the jury can see them. Now it would be unethical to put evidence that is not admitted or that the jury would never review because it is inadmissible in a place where the jury could see it. But if you have pages and pages of documents that you have prepared for the case there is no rule that says you can't have them at your ready disposal. This could show the jury that you are prepared and have left no stone unturned.
But it could also look cluttered and messy. This could lead the jury to believe that you, or worse, your arguments, are cluttered and unpersuasive. If you have very neat and clean people who are well dressed on the jury you may want to score some points with them by showing that you are also neat and clean and well dressed.
Typically I want the jury to understand that when I prepare a case I am organized and know every fact related to that case like the back of my hand. This leads me to believe that I should have a very clean desk with only one folder or binder on the table at a time.
I don't have a big coffee mug or cup either because this might make them think I can't get it together in the morning. Or maybe they don't like the college logo on my coffee mug? Why risk offending a juror for no reason. Always have a reason for what you are doing and be able to explain it to someone else. If the reason is, "Because that's my favorite coffee mug." That's not a very good reason. Or at least not good enough for me to waste a chance to persuade the jury.
You might have a reason that you want a cluttered and messy trial counsel table. I can't think of one, but I'm sure there is a case out there where this is the perfect strategy.
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