A Tip on Admitting Evidence for Trial

Evidence is one of, if not the, most difficult topics for a pro se litigant to grasp. Every day I look on the internet and see people ranting about wanting to recuse their judge because they wouldn't allow them to use some kind of evidence during a trial or hearing. Usually it is telephone records, bank records, and other items that are clearly hearsay, at least to someone who has taken the time to actually read the rules before deciding they are qualified to appear in a court and represent themselves on their own case.

We've said this a hundred time and we'll keep saying it…When you choose to represent yourself, you are held to the same standards as a lawyer. You have to work within the same rules they do and the judge isn't there to explain how you are messing up, just like they don't tel llawyers how to do things. The judge is the referee of the game, not the coach and not really a player.

I am going to give you one tip that may help prevent you from getting blindsided at trial by not being able to admit yoru evidence. Ask the judge if you and the othe side can pre-admit the evidence. Ask if you each can send the other side a trial marked copy of the exhibits you intend to use along with a list of the exhibits and obtain objections in advance. The judge will usually agree to that since it moves the trial along quicker and, in addition, you will learn the objections your opponent has and be able to rectiify them.

This tip won't excuse you from learning the Rules of Evidence or the Rules of Civil Procedure, but it may make things a little easier.

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