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Can a Jury Read the Pretrial Testimony of the Defense

Reading of the Pretrial Testimony by a Jury is not Allowed

The doctor whom you have sued in your medical malpractice case is now being cross-examined using his own words that he said during the pretrial testimony.

Now, after the trial is over, and the jury is deliberating to arrive at a decision, the jury wants to know whether they can read all of the doctor's pretrial testimony, in order to determine whether the doctor was inconsistent and he was lying about something that he said earlier compared to what he said at trial. Will the jury be permitted to see the transcripts of the doctor's pretrial testimony?

The answer is no, the judge is not going to allow the jury to see and read all of the doctor's pretrial testimony. However, your lawyer will have the opportunity to use the doctor's pretrial testimony during the cross-examination at the trial. The pretrial transcript will have all the questions that were asked and the answers given by the doctor during the deposition. The deposition is a question and answer session held under oath, which could have taken place a couple of years before the trial, and is an important pretrial process.

Your Lawyer can Use the Pretrial Testimony Though

If from the deposition transcripts, your lawyer finds that the doctor has said something different during the trial - your attorney can use the pretrial testimony as evidence to show to the jury that there are inconsistencies in what the doctor has been and is saying.

Additionally, during the closing arguments, your lawyer can argue to the jury that the doctor is inconsistent, and because of such inconsistencies, it can be concluded that he has been lying to the court. Therefore, the jury should not believe what the doctor has said. Your lawyer can do all this using the doctor's pretrial testimony.

There may be an instance when the case goes to the jury for deliberations to reach a verdict and to decide who is more likely right than wrong, where the jury might want to look at the entire transcript of what the doctor had said during the deposition or the pretrial testimony. Can the jury see that? The answer is no. This is because that testimony that the doctor gave two years earlier during the pretrial litigation process was not admitted into evidence during the course of trial.

Evidence not Admitted

Instead, the doctor testified, he explained what went on, and your lawyer used the doctor's prior testimony to show to the jury that what he had said years earlier is inconsistent with he said now at trial. This is a strategy your lawyer can employ. The judge is only going to allow testimony that is admissible, and the jury is only supposed to base their verdict upon the testimony that was admitted into evidence during the course of a trial.

On request to read the whole testimony given by the doctor during the deposition, the judge will explain to the jury that the prior testimony was never admitted into evidence. Additionally, there is no reason for admitting it into evidence since it was pretrial testimony, and the lawyer will cross-examine the doctor during trial and point out the inconsistencies.

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