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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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in a civil case --- can a plaintiff ask the defendant to

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in a civil case --- can a plaintiff ask the defendant to leave the court room during trial such that a defendant does not hear the testimony of one of the plaintiff's called witnesses prior to the defendant testimony. I know that this request can be made and granted such that the witnesses who will testify cannot hear the testimony of the other witnesses before him. But I am not sure it would apply to the defendant who will also be called to testify at trial.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - No you cannot make that request. Both parties have the right to hear all testimony in the case. My suggestion in any civil trial is for the plaintiff to call the defendant as the first witness "as on cross". It is a technique used by most attorneys in civil cases in order to get the defendant on the stand to admit to as much as possible on cross examination before other witnesses are called. It would be impossible for me to train anyone on all the nuances of trial practice from this website but calling the defendant as the first witness as on cross is very effective. You will then get a second chance, after the defendant testifies in his or her case in chief, to cross examine the defendant on the direct testimony.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you. I just want to make sure I understand. The defendant then has to testify twice first time before and the second time after the plaintiff witness. Would the judge allow this?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
Of course the judge will allow this and wonder how you learned the technique which is usually only done by lawyers since pro se litigants have never heard of this. You need to be ready with your questions and they should be of the type that ask "Isn't it true that this happened?" and "Isn't it true that happened?" or Isn't it true you spent the money?" or whatever the case may be that you are trying to prove. If the defendant lies then you can rebut the testimony with your own witnesses. Don't ask questions that give the defendant the opportunity to expand on the answer but just a "yes" or "no". It really is an effective way of getting out the evidence you want right at the start. You may not need to call some of your witnesses if you can establish the facts from the defendant directly. Don't forget to ask them to state their name before they testify just as you would any witness.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
when you say to call the defendant as "on cross" - you mean it would actually be "direct" of the unfriendly witness. Please note that the defendant attorney is NOT planning to call the defendant for examination. So essentially the plaintiff would get a chance to have two directs of the defendant?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
Well "as on cross" is simply an early cross examination. You would not have two chances if the defendant does not testify in his case in chief but you can recall the defendant if there is some reason to do so at a later time in the trial. I can only provide general information from this website as trial practice takes an entire year of law school and many years of law practice to do it just right. I'm only offering this information to give you an extra option at trial to get some testimony you may not get under normal circumstances.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
right. That was my original question --- would the judge allow second testimony of the defendant -- if the testimony of the plaintiff witness uncovers the inconsistency (or lie) of the defendant during his first testimony. If the judge allows it -- then I presume the testimony of the defendant would only be limited to this lie?? -- correct?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
If additional evidence is uncovered that would create a reason to recall the defendant then you can recall him. So you would have a second chance to ask questions for rebuttal purposes.
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