Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff Trial Lawyer, Former Federal Prosecutor Available to Discuss Latest Case-Cracking Techniques, Power of Digital Video in Courtroom

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Attorneys and their clients cannot afford not to use video to reach juries. Video can and should be used in every case that is otherwise worth taking to trial, according to Bernard M. “Bernie” Resser, an accomplished trial lawyer and partner at Rutter Hobbs and Davidoff in Los Angeles, as well as a former federal prosecutor.

The latest digital video trial presentation technology affords the same impact with viewers as HDTV and YouTube, and has made courtroom visuals more powerful, easier to use and relatively inexpensive. Attorneys and their clients cannot afford not to use video to reach juries. Video can and should be used in every case that is otherwise worth taking to trial, according to Bernard M. “Bernie” Resser (http://www.rutterhobbs.com/CM/Attorneys/BernardResser.asp), an accomplished trial lawyer and partner at Rutter Hobbs and Davidoff in Los Angeles, as well as a former federal prosecutor.

“When a witness is cross-examined at trial using digital video deposition testimony projected to the jury on an eight-foot screen ― showing the witness contradicting trial testimony the jury just heard ― the impact is profound and often devastating,” said Resser, who videotapes all trial depositions.

The video is edited into relevant clips and loaded onto a computer for instantaneous access at any point during a case, including on-the-fly during the trial. Resser projects the video onto an eight foot screen simply by passing bar code reader across a bar code.

In Resser's experience, fewer than a third of all depositions are videotaped by opposing attorneys, even though this isn’t brand-new technology that’s just being developed. Resser has been on the cutting edge of using digital video in the courtroom and has had tremendous success with these techniques for over 15 years.

“Even judges appreciate it because they save time compared to using old-school videotape, document blow-ups and other lower-tech visuals,” Resser said.

Courtroom digital video tips from Resser:

  • Studies show that despite being instructed to keep an open mind until the case is submitted to them for decision, up to 80 percent of jurors form an opinion after the opening statements, and they filter the evidence through that prism during the trial. The visual presentation of deposition testimony and documents should be used throughout the trial, including during opening statement (with the judge’s permission), case-in-chief, cross-examination and summation. In the opening statement, the jury should be shown the worst testimony from the opposing witness before they ever see testimony that may help the other side. Hours of depositions should be edited into the opening statement. The result is a hard-hitting story with maximum impact on the jury.
  • Resser says the case cracker is when a witness says something at trial that contradicts what the witness said in deposition. The ability to immediately access the contradictory deposition clip has a devastating impact on the witness, leading to nervous demeanor, more contradictions and more mistakes in front of the jury.
  • Achieving maximum impact begins at the outset of the case. Record virtually every deposition. More importantly, prepare for depositions with the intention of using video of key testimony at trial. The opposing witness and counsel are often not as well prepared for depositions where every first and unrehearsed attempt to explain by the witness is captured. Testimony obtained on video is typically far more useful cross-examination than anything obtained at trial after the witness has “practiced,” and showing that video has far greater impact than simply reading from a written transcript.

To arrange an interview with Bernie Resser: Contact Trent Freeman at 310.824.9000 or tfreeman(at)olmsteadwilliams(dot)com.

About Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff
Los Angeles-based Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff is a full-service law firm founded in 1973. The firm’s seasoned attorneys represent middle market companies, early stage entities, large corporations and individuals in matters involving business litigation and dispute resolution; corporate and securities; bankruptcy, reorganization and capital recovery; estate planning and trust litigation; advertising, media and intellectual property; labor and employment; and, real estate. The firm's diverse team of attorneys and experienced, tenured staff collaborates to deliver consistently excellent service in a timely and cost-effective manner. For more information, please visit http://www.rutterhobbs.com.

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Trent Freeman
tfreeman@olmsteadwilliams.com
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