Illinois Bar Journal


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Articles on Witnesses

Court sanctions lawyer over witness’s improper comments By Matthew Hector January 2016 LawPulse, Page 12 A Chicago lawyer was fined more than $68,000 because a witness he represented made comments in violation of a court order, which resulted in a mistrial.
The Beau Brindley case: Witness preparation v. coaching By Matthew Hector November 2015 LawPulse, Page 14 Beau Brindley was acquitted of charges that he coached witnesses to lie. So where's the line between zealous preparation and improper coaching? It isn't always easy to see.
The court may set conditions for minor and disabled victims using facility dogs during testimony November 2015 Illinois Law Update, Page 20 This new section allows courts to set any conditions it finds just and appropriate for the use of a facility dog in taking testimony of a victim under specific circumstances.
No Surprises: Basics of Controlled Expert Witness Disclosure By Tiffany Riggs and Tim Hammersmith May 2015 Article, Page 40 No matter how convincing your experts, their testimony may be for naught if you fail to make timely and appropriate disclosure of their identity under Rule 213(f)(3).
Arguing Witness Credibility at Closing After People v. Adams By Jill Ausdenmoore February 2013 Article, Page 92 In Adams, the Illinois Supreme Court reemphasized that prosecutors' commentary on witness credibility at closing must be based on the evidence.
A Short Guide to Using Cross-Examination to Impeach Experts By Hon. James M. Varga September 2012 Article, Page 492 A look at some of the dos, don'ts, and special rules that apply to impeaching expert witnesses by way of cross-examination.
Illinois Rule of Evidence 703: The Expert’s Way to Avoid the Hearsay Rule By Justin D. Scheid May 2012 Article, Page 260 New Rule 703 permits an expert witness to base an opinion on inadmissible facts if they are reasonably relied on by experts in the field.
Lawyers, Doctors and Matryoshka Dolls By Hon. Ron Spears February 2012 Column, Page 106 Fee contests over physician testimony reflect the tension between lawyers and doctors.
Exposing Immigration Bias During Voir Dire By David Holland and Gil Lenz February 2011 Article, Page 82 Courts should allow questioning of prospective jurors on immigration-related bias, the authors say. They also suggest questions that can expose immigrant bias during jury selection.
The New, More Clear, More Compete Rules: the Example of Rule 3.7 By Donald E. Weihl November 2010 Column, Page 594 The new version of Rule 3.7 ("Lawyer as Witness") doesn't change the law, but it expresses it more clearly.
Experts Cannot Testify About the Law - or Can They? By James W. Springer February 2010 Article, Page 98 In theory, experts may not opine about whether a party's actions were legal. Here's how courts have put that principle into practice.
Loose lips lose lawsuits By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2009 LawPulse, Page 546 Having trouble getting your witnesses to shut up? Show them a copy of People v Harris.
Crime victims may present victim impact statements in mental health commitment hearings. PA 096-0117 October 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 496 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act to allow for victims of a violent crime to submit impact statements in cases where the defendant has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
The Overlooked Art of Redirect Examination By Jeffrey J. Kroll and Patrick White August 2009 Article, Page 406 Redirect examination is a powerful weapon for litigators, but it can backfire on those who forget its central purpose - to rehabilitate witnesses.
Making evidence meaningful By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2009 LawPulse, Page 278 A veteran lawyer and trial judge tells litigators how to present evidence in a way that engages and wins over jurors.
A Snipe-Hunter’s guide to Coaxing Answers from Hostile Witnesses By Hon. Ron Spears May 2009 Column, Page 260 Preparation and skillful questioning can help you bag your quarry.
Cross-Examination of Experts: Saving the Best for Trial By Keith L. Davidson February 2009 Article, Page 94 A veteran litigator warns against revealing so much during discovery that you limit your ability to effectively cross-examine experts at trial.
Code of Criminal Procedure amended to accommodate those with developmental disabilities. PA 095-0897 December 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 612 The Illinois General Assembly amended the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 by changing the heading of Article 106b and amending Section 106B-5. 725 ILCS 5/106B-5. 
Fees for Physician Testimony: What’s Reasonable? By Timothy J. Harris September 2008 Article, Page 460 A look at the governing rules, along with common-sense ways lawyers can keep doctors from charging too much for testifying.
Eyewitnesses and the Rashomon Effect By Hon. Ron Spears August 2008 Column, Page 424 Research indicates that eyewitness testimony is less reliable than people think.
Diogenes and the Testimonial Whopper By Hon. Ron Spears February 2008 Column, Page 104 What can we do to improve the accuracy and honesty of witness testimony? Not enough.
An Update on Rule 213 Trial Witness Disclosure By Daniel P. Wurl September 2007 Article, Page 464 A look at the evolution of the Rule 213 opinion-witness rule and the supreme and appellate court decisions interpreting it.
Cross-Examination: Beyond the Perry Mason Moment By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2006 Article, Page 654 Though you shouldn't count on a surprise case-winning confession, there's a lot you can do to improve your performance on cross.
Lack of professional license not a bar to rendering expert opinion August 2006 Illinois Law Update, Page 404 On June 2, 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, reversing and remanding the decision of the Circuit Court of Lake County to strike the affidavit of an expert witness because the witness lacked an Illinois professional license. 
The New Illinois Standard for Admissibility of Expert Opinion Testimony By Justin Lee Heather February 2006 Article, Page 88 The court in Simons created a dual standard: de novo review of the Frye "general acceptance" test, more deferential treatment of the trial court's decision about relevance and experts' qualifications.
A plaintiff must object to a witness at the time the witness is to testify, in order to preserve that objection for appeal September 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 446 On June 28, 2005, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County denying the plaintiffs' motion to bar the defendant's expert witness from testifying at trial. 
More individuals protected from potential harassment by criminal defendants PA 093-0818 January 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 The Criminal Code has been amended to protect additional individuals from harassment when they are or were expected to testify in a legal proceeding. 
Applying the Frye Standard to Expert Testimony; A Guide for Lawyers and Judges By Hon. Robert J. Steigmann July 2004 Article, Page 363 Here's an appellate court justice's framework for analyzing Frye issues.
Defendant was not required to introduce her own expert witness regarding the relationship of the plaintiff’s prior injuries to the automobile collision because she was able to establish the same from cross-examination of the plaintiff’s experts, obviating the need for further expert testimony May 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 242 On January 30, 2004, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, affirmed the order of the Circuit Court of Lake County admitting evidence of a motorist's prior injuries without expert testimony regarding causation of the prior injuries. 
Locating Elusive Witnesses: An Introduction By Peggy Shapiro and Perry Myers July 2003 Article, Page 357 Simple, low- or no-cost tools for finding witnesses who don't want to be found.