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Can an Entire Testimony of a Witness be Read out Again

It is the end of your medical malpractice trial and the jury is now deliberating or deciding who could be more likely right than wrong. However, while deliberating, they send a note to the judge, requesting the testimony of a particular witness be read back in its entirety. Will the judge allow that expert witness's testimony to be read back from start to finish?

Jury can Request for Entire Testimony to be Read out Again

The closing arguments are done, your trial is over, the judge has given the jury instructions, and now the jury is deliberating. However, the jury wants a witness's testimony read back from the beginning to end. Such testimony could be quite long and it might take the jury several hours to listen to it, in its entirety. What if that particular witness had given his testimony for more than a day? It is quite possible that reading back such testimony can take more than a full day or a few hours. Will the judge therefore allow reading back of the testimony, especially if it is such a long testimony?

Judge may Agree or Disagree Depending on the Issue and Time

The answer is maybe. There are some cases where the judge will allow for the full testimony to be read out to the jury. In other instances, the judge will refuse, and he will ask the jurors to narrow down on what the issue is exactly. Then depending on the particular problem, the judge will ask for the particular sections of the testimony to be identified that are likely to clear the issue.

Then these sections will be read back to the jurors. In such instances, the judge feels that reading back the entire testimony would most likely be a waste of time, and it would be much better to identify the sections that are not clear, and have only those read out. The judge will therefore ask the jury to narrow down the key issues that they are looking for. Once these issues are identified by the jury, the judge will ask the court transcriptionist to identify those areas and read those selected portions back to the jury.

Too much Information all at Once

Medical malpractice cases in particular can be quite complicated, and testimonies can be lengthy. Even though expert witnesses will use simple language to explain medical terms and procedures, the jurors might find it difficult to take it all in, when the witness is testifying on the stand.

Sometimes the witness might explain something, which will be extended and complicated, and then the cross-examination by the lawyers of that witness based on what he has explained, might be even lengthier. Therefore, it is possible that jurors might want to refresh their memories on what was said exactly, and they might request the judge to have the testimony read out again.

Pinpointing the Rough Spots

However, agreeing to such a request is entirely upon the judge's discretion. If the judge feels it is important for the jury to understand the whole testimony properly, then he might agree. However, in most cases the judge will not want to waste time, and will want the jury to narrow down on the portions that are not clear, and have them read again.

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