California Mock Trial Prosecution Checklist

Strong attorneys posses the ability to think on their toes and react to new information quickly. But when it comes to courtroom procedure, the best way to form the desired narrative or question witnesses is often to follow a plan that has been proven to work before. Below is the checklist for a mock trial prosecutor as developed by Luke Ellis.

  • Note sexes of witnesses.
  • Did the pretrial motion get granted?
    • Is the pretrial evidence being admitted?     ____yes       ____no
    • Don’t ask questions about it if evidence is excluded.
    • If evidence is excluded object if prosecution still brings it up.
  • Did all exhibits get entered into evidence?   ____yes    ____no
    • After prosecution witnesses are called, request to admit evidence before resting.
  • Did the defendant get properly identified ?       ____yes         ____no
  • Take cues from Judge.
    • If granting narratives, get ready to ask a second question (can also say ‘witness was almost finished your honor’).
    • Is Judge allowing witnesses to finish answer (try saying once: “objection, counsel is cutting off the witness answer”)?
    • Is Judge letting in all hearsay, if you say “not for truth, subsequent action.”
    • Don’t keep saying ‘may I be heard’, if Judge just turns and looks at you for your response.
  • No crazy objections-lean and mean.
  • If they say: “Doesn’t your witness statement say xxxx?”
    • Object to use of statement as Hearsay – out of court statement. There must be an exception (the only reason you can impeach with a statement is because it falls under the “prior inconsistent statement” exception to the rule.)
  • If the objection is to material fact or impeaching, ask for “line and page number.” Argue against by pointing out other parts of the statement.
  • If they make mistake of showing you witness statement, witnesses read from other parts if appropriate – take time on cross.
Author Photo

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Since 1972 he has been helping seriously injured victims throughout northern California fight & win their personal injury cases. Andy is one of the top awarded & recognized wrongful death lawyers in northern California.