Tuesday, July 21, 2009
To stipulate or not to stipulate
With the new emphasis on testimony and cross examination that comes as a result of the Melendez-Diaz v Massachusetts case, I thought I'd answer a few questions related to depositions, courtroom procedures, and terms.
Stipulate/Stipulation: agreements between parties that are placed on the record.
Do you need to stipulate, or agree when requested to do so? No.
You may be asked, "Will you stipulate that all copies of the digital multimedia evidence can be used as though they are originals?" Without giving actual legal advice here, I'd say that unless you've seen what's on the discs, it's best to say no in this case.
Sometimes, stipulations can speed up trial, in the case of exhibit numbering for example. Other times, a more experienced attorney may try to gain an unfair advantage over a less experienced opponent. Don't assume that either attorney has your best interests in mind. If you are not comfortable as to what you are being asked to agree to, speak up and ask questions.