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NOTICE: The Civil Trial Judges will NOT be hearing civil and orphans’ court motions on the following Fridays:
- Judge Gary P. Caruso: May 27, 2011; June 10, 2011; July 29, 2011
- Judge Richard E. McCormick, Jr.: June 24, 2011; August 12, 2011; August 19, 2011; September 16, 2011; September 23, 2011
- Judge Anthony G. Marsili: July 1, 2011; August 12, 2011
Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on prior or subsequent Fridays.
Practice Tip of the Week
by Dan Joseph, Esquire
In both civil and criminal cases, hiring your own investigator is mandatory for proper pre-trial preparation. The investigator should take statements, signed and dated on all pages and an acknowledgment by the witness that this is in fact his or her statement. This allows the statement to be used not just for impeachment but for substantive evidence. Most important is that the investigator take statements even from those witnesses that have given statements to either the police or insurance investigator. It is amazing how the statements will differ depending on what questions are asked and how they are asked. Do not ever simply accept the statements of witnesses contained in police reports without taking your own statements from those witnesses. To avoid becoming a witness in your own trial, always use an investigator to take the statements. That way if their trial testimony differs from the statement, you can always call the investigator to testify. It is very effective when you place the investigator’s credentials before the jury and then have the investigator tell the judge or jury what the witness told them.
Dan Joseph is a partner with New Kensington law firm of George and Joseph. Dan has been in practice for 38 years.