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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Inadmissible Testimony Should Not Be "Volunteered" By A Witness

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Law Blogger John A Day, at Day On Torts, discusses the obligations of an attorney to play by the rules when certain testimony or evidence has been ruled inadmissible in advance by a trial judge. He recalls an incident in which an attorney informed the witness that even though the judge had already ruled the testimony inadmissible it could be volunteered by the witness. Ethical attorneys well know that this is not true.

John’s article cites to a Florida Court Decision on this point of law.

Trial Is Not a Game

Here is a case from Florida that explains is simple terms the obligation of a lawyer who knows that a witness has testimony that has been ruled inadmissible.

“Second, the prosecutor did not bother to explain the pre-trial ruling to the witness before calling him. Instead, the prosecutor explained that he trusted law enforcement witnesses to confine their answers to the questions asked so that he could avoid the improper testimony by simply avoiding any question that would directly call for an answer including the barred evidence. Obviously, this approach did not work. The prosecutor is cautioned that professionalism demands that he review matters barred from evidence by court order with any affected witness before calling that witness to the stand.”

The case is Florida v. Santiago, CASE NO. 5D05-2162 (Florida D.C. App., 5th Dis., May 5, 2006).

The full court opinion is worth a read.