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Posted on October 9, 2017 in Discovery
What is discovery? Discovery is the stage in a case where evidence is gathered and examined in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses in one’s case, and also the strengths and weaknesses in the other party’s case.
There are many tools at an attorney’s disposal when searching for facts and evidence. Below are a few of the most commonly used methods of discovery:
Interrogatories: These are questions which are sent to the other party in a case, where the other party must answer the questions under penalty of perjury. These questions can range from general information to specially crafted questions designed to catch a party in an inconsistency. The answers to interrogatories can be used in trial to impeach a party on the witness stand, if the same question is asked at trial, and the party then gives a different answer. Interrogatories are a great tool in fact-finding, and figuring out what the other side’s position will be at trial.
Demand for Production of Documents and Inspection of Things: This is a discovery tool most used in family law cases. Demands are sent to the other party in a case, and request that the other party produce certain documents in their possession, and make them available for you to inspect and copy. These documents include bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, corporate or other business documents, receipts, etc. No documents are off limits, except those protected by a privilege. This discovery tool is essential in determining income available for support, business financials, and during and post marriage spending. You don’t have to take the other side’s word. You are allowed to see the documents, and this discovery tool makes them available to you.
Depositions: Most people understand the process of taking a deposition. A deposition is a great discovery tool in not only fact-finding, but also locking the person into an answer, and building ammunition with which to impeach them at trial, if they give a different answer. Some depositions can be recorded, and then the video played for the judge at trial when the witness changes his or her answer, demonstrating the witness’s untruthfulness. Depositions can be taken of anyone who may have facts and information relevant to your case.
There are many more discovery tools available to you for the purpose of building evidence in your case. These discovery tools can be costly; however, they are crucial to building a bulletproof case. Cases are won and lost in the discovery process. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case is. Discovery is the way to get the evidence you need in order to win your case.