Vermont Bar Journal - Winter 2016-17
2 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2017
Date Written: March 27, 2017
One of the first tasks an attorney should perform in starting a case for trial is to prepare the jury instructions. The jury instructions will have all the substantive law essential to prove your case or defense.
You want to develop a theme that will grab the attention of the jurors and remain with them all the way to the jury deliberation room. For example: "This is a case about protecting the everyday consumer."
Vermont follows the Federal Rules of Evidence with a few exceptions. An important procedural rule is that the proponent of an item of evidence must lay a foundation or predicate before offering the item into evidence. Vermont Rule of Evidence 901(a) and Federal Rule of Evidence 901(a) - Requirement of Authentication or Identification.
Effective direct examination begins long before you go into the courtroom. Develop the theme that will resonate with the jurors throughout the trial. If you can develop and deliver the right theme one or more of the jurors will be arguing your case in the jury deliberation room. "That is not what this case is about. - This case is about the general contractor's shoddy work."
Keywords: Vermont Direct Examination, Trial Practice, Witnesses, Evidence
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation