Charts can also be used by witnesses, including expert witnesses, to explain, supplement, and illustrate their oral testimony. See Duss v. Garcia, 80 So. The most common objection to the use of a chart at trial other than relevance is lack of foundation. To lay the appropriate foundation, the witness must attest that the chart constitutes a fair and accurate representation of the information it contains. An example is as follows:.
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Attorney: Where did this happen? Witness: In the lobby of the hotel.
May I approach the witness? Judge: You may. W: Yes. A: What is it? A: How do you know that?
W: I know the hotel very well. For over four years now I have eaten in the restaurant in the lobby at least three times a week and continue to do so at the present time. A: Does this diagram fairly and accurately depict the relative positions of the restaurant, lounge, and elevators? W: Yes, it does. A: Is it drawn to scale? W: Not exactly, but everything is roughly the right size. The relative positions of the restaurant, lounge, and elevators are all very accurate.
Opposing Counsel: Your Honor, I request a limiting instruction that the diagram is not to scale. J: Yes. The exhibit will be received. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the attorney for the plaintiff is now going to show you a diagram of the hotel lobby. Although the witness has testified that the diagram is basically accurate, he has also testified that the diagram is not to scale. Accordingly, in deciding what weight to attach to the diagram, you should consider the fact that the diagram is not to scale.
A: May I publish the diagram to the jury? J: You may. If the chart involves a drawing to scale, it may be necessary to call two witnesses: one who prepared the exhibit and will attest that it is to scale and another who can testify as to the relevant facts and circumstances in issue.
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An attorney offering a chart as demonstrative evidence should also make sure that the chart is not merely cumulative of other testimony, is not misleading, and does not contain inaccuracies, unfairly prejudicial captions, or otherwise inadmissible statements e. If the attorney encounters an apparently insurmountable objection, strategic maneuvering includes requesting a limiting instruction e. There are certain limitations on the use of charts. In Louisiana-Pacific Corp. But see Newberry Square Development Corp. Models Models can be particularly interesting and persuasive because of their multidimensional character.
They can also be costly. Therefore, it usually benefits counsel to ensure, either by stipulation or pretrial ruling, that the model will be admissible. Otherwise, to admit a model as a demonstrative exhibit, the attorney must show that: 1 the model is helpful or necessary to explain relevant testimony; 2 the model depicts a particular object; 3 the witness is familiar with the object being depicted; 4 the witness has a basis for such familiarity; and 5 the model fairly and accurately depicts what it purports to represent and does not prejudicially distort the object.
Medical models that are available for purchase by catalog companies include herniated intervertebral discs, life-size hearts with coronary bypasses, spinal columns with muscles and ligaments, and real-bone adult human skeletons.
The below colloquy is example for how to lay the appropriate predicate for admitting a medical model into evidence:. Doctor: Yes. A: How were you able to regulate the movement of that scalpel? D: This is a difficult procedure to explain without the use of a model. A: Why is that? D: There is a new procedure that was developed to minimize trauma on the patient during surgery. But it is impossible for me to explain it in words.
I really need to use a model to make my testimony understandable. A: May I approach the witness? Doctor, do you know what this is? D: Yes. As you can see, it is a replica of a human skull. It is used as a teaching aid at medical schools throughout the country.
I routinely use it in my classes with surgical residents. A: Is it an accurate model of the skull? D: It is extremely accurate. It needs to be because it is used to teach residents. A: Will this model help you explain your testimony about the specific surgery you performed on the patient? Opposing Counsel: I object. The model is not to scale and is therefore prejudicial. A: Your Honor, the model is to be used only for demonstrative evidence as an aid to help the witness explain his testimony and to help the jury understand it better. J: Objection overruled. D: Yes …. Even if the exhibit is not admitted into evidence, it may still be used as a demonstrative aid if the foundation is met.
Demonstrations And Experiments Generally, courtroom demonstrations are the most dramatic type of evidence; they are also the riskiest. To reduce the risk, the attorney should consider presenting demonstrations by recorded videotape when feasible, especially when the demonstrations are complex. Complete identity, however, is not required.
In Rindfleisch v.
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Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. Similarly, in Dempsey v. Shell Oil Co. The court found that although speed and other specific conditions at the scene of the accident logically would affect visibility, those matters would go to the weight, not the admissibility, of the evidence. Finally, in Brown v. Defense counsel alleged that the prosecutor was inserting a knife into the styrofoam model with more force and pressure than was necessary. Despite the foregoing cases, which indicate certain liberal treatment by the courts, the original conditions and circumstances at issue should be duplicated as closely as possible.
It is preferable to go beyond the scope of what may be required because the admissibility of this type of evidence resides totally within the discretion of the court. To maximize the probability that the appropriate foundation will be laid, the expert who conducted the experiment or supervised the demonstration should be in court to present the evidence. Relevancy Photographs are among the most readily available and common types of demonstrative evidence. They are also extremely powerful pieces of evidence.