Q: How do I prepare and present evidence at my hearing pro se including videos, photographs and text messages?
A: The rules of evidence are very complex. Lawyers spend three to four years in law school and countless years of practice learning how to prepare and present evidence. For example there are 23 exceptions to the hearsay rule and you have to have them memorized as you are putting on your case before a judge. However, as you are just asking about photos, here is a basic, crash course.
PHOTOGRAPHS GENERALLY (Taken from Harris Binder) - Answer these questions while on the witness stand:
• Do you recognize this photograph?
• What do you recognize it to be?
• How are you able to do so?
• When were these photographs taken?
• Do these photographs accurately and fairly depict the scene as it appeared the day they were taken?
• Are there any material alterations or deletions to the photographs? [if photograph taken off Facebook or Instagram with digital touch-up or editing, such as filters, have witness go through those]
Text messages: Same as above plus they are an exception to the hearsay rule if the text messages are from the person in the lawsuit as an admission by a party opponent.
Video with sound will not be allowed unless the person gave permission to be recorded. If so, authentication is the same procedure.
I hope this helps, good luck!
A: Mr. Klein has given you sound legal advice as to handling only one of scores of different situations that may arise in the course of your pro se case. The judge is not going to allow you to bring your cell phone to court and stop the trial to allow you to ask procedural questions to lawyers here on Avvo.
This situation is another good example why pro se litigants should hire experienced trial lawyers to advise them and help them prepare their pro se case for trial. The experienced trial lawyer does not have to appear in the case to advise pro se litigants; this their advisory fee will be reasonable.
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