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How Do I Introduce Exhibits in Court?



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since a document or photograph can't

testify about where it came from or who

created it it must be introduced by

witness exhibits should have been

distributed beforehand but they are not

admitted as evidence until you follow a

certain procedure you cannot discuss the

contents of an exhibit until it has been

admitted there are recognized techniques

to get an exhibit admitted you should

follow these steps to introduce your

exhibit in current first identify the

exhibit for example you could say Your

Honor I have marked as exhibit 3 a

photograph of our marital home taken

this summer ii have a witness

authenticate the exhibit this means

explaining where the exhibit came from

and how the witness knows about it the

witness could be you during your

testimony or another witness who has

personal knowledge about the exhibit for

example a witness who wrote the document

or a witness who can testify and

identify the object in a photograph

because that person saw the object in

real life

third ask for the exhibit to be admitted

you are making an oral motion to the

court about the exhibit you have just

identified you could use these words

Your Honor I ask to admit defendants

exhibit C fourth wait for an objection

or a ruling the judge may ask the other

side if there is an objection before

deciding whether to admit the exhibit if

there is no objection or if the judge

overrules an objection the judge will

admit the exhibit once the exhibit is

admitted you can then read it aloud or

show the exhibit to the judge for him or

her to consider later you can also ask a

witness questions about the contents of

the exhibit let's look at an example in

the courtroom the plaintiff wrote me a

letter on August 12 so when she told me

I would never see my son again I have

the letter here it's marked defendants

exhibit a I know this is from her

because it's in her handwriting and

person

sure I recognize them both we've been

married for 10 years and I know her

writing well I send a copy of this

letter to the opposing party with my

exhibit list and I ask that it be

admitted into evidence is there an

objection no objection your honor

for the record defendants exhibit 80 is

your bi admitted into evidence

Your Honor I will now read the relevant

section to the court as you can see from

this example every exhibit must be

linked to a witness this witness could

be you when you are testifying or it

could be another witness that you're

questioning to help with your planning

in your offer of proof for each exhibit

you could write down which witness you

want to introduce and talk about the

exhibit this will help you to remember

to ask to admit all of your exhibits an

offer of proof will also help you

explain to the judge why you think an

exhibit is important and relevant if the

judge asks you about it or if the other

side objects to it