Depositions are fascinating things. You would essentially use them to impeach a witness, refresh someone’s memory, and/or show a jury exactly who someone is. Reading words on a transcript might provide the substance of a conversation, but it doesn’t show you that person’s body language. Did they fall silent and become shifty under an attorney’s questioning? Were they squirming in their chair? Was there skin flushed or paled under a line of inquiry? During depositions, the visual element has become imperative so that you can explain your perspective and allow the jury to view more than just pages of words. This is where legal video becomes a great asset to your case.
Impeaching a witness with his own words is great; impeaching a witness with himself is even better. Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniel’s lawyer, explains why we wants to use legal video for his case. Avenatti wants to depose President Trump and Michael Cohen under oath and release those videotapes to the media. As he said,
“This is a matter of public service. … The American public knows exactly or should know exactly what happened here. … They deserve to know the truth. They deserve to know what evidence there is. They deserve to know what the president did in connection with this — and they deserve to know it all.”
I Have to See It to Believe It
Some people just won’t believe anything until they see it. Knowing that a deposition was taken under oath, before a court reporter, on video managed by a Certified Legal Video Specialist, ensures a level of credibility that even a transcript alone cannot achieve. Hearing and seeing a witness make a contrary statement is more useful and usable to a jury.
Video testimony can also prove especially necessary in cases where facing an accuser will cause far too much hardship. For instance, sexual abuse cases sometimes allow victims to be interviewed by video. Of course, counsel is present to cross-examine as long as the ability to call the witness at trial is still allowed. Therefore, victims have the opportunity to give testimony outside the presence of their abuser and also ensures that the defendant’s right to face their accuser is not violated.
Nonetheless, simply having videography isn’t enough. It must be professional, with due consideration given to aspects like sound quality and lighting. Too much overhead light casts you in shadow; too far in the other direction casts a demon-like pallor and can subconsciously pit a jury against you. Poor sound quality can lose the focus and attention of an audience. Even cosmetic aspects like clothing and makeup must be handled delicately, because with this option to see the witness, you want them to look good.
There are certainly pros and cons to legal video, but the former outweighs the latter. Talk to us today if you need a legal video specialist to give your depositions some extra dramatic licensing!