Publications

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

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.

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