Why are Some Depositions Videotaped?

When conducted properly, depositions can be critical...

IMAG0642When conducted properly, depositions can be critical to supporting a court case. One definition of a deposition is taking an oral statement of a witness under oath, before trial. These proceedings, also called discovery, are usually used to build and support cases. Videotaping has not always been a very popular method of capturing depositions, however it has proven to be a great tool in many cases. Videotaping a deposition has several benefits worth considering.

Video is More Revealing

It has been stated that a picture says a thousand words. In that vein, a videotape can say thousands more. Video of a witness can give greater insight into the testimony than can be deciphered from a deposition transcript. What a person says does not have as much impact as how they say it. Many cases have been aided through use of videotaping. Certain tones, inflections, facial expressions and mannerisms can increase or decrease credibility in a witness, which is important for the attorney to be aware of. For example, if a witness pauses before answering a question, looks away or wrings their hands, they could possibly be lying. A skilled attorney can either utilize this notion to cross examine the witness in an effort to extract the truth, or they can present this to the jury to simply discredit the testimony. Without videotaping those clues are lost, as well as the possible opportunity to find out the truth.

Adds a Different Element to the Case

In the age of social media, smart phones and tablets, video recording is prevalent and heavily utilized in everyday life. From news programs to YouTube videos, recordings are constantly used to relay facts, messages and reports. As such, individuals are very receptive to receiving information in this form and are more prone to grasp the full weight of the material being presented. Therefore, utilizing this medium during a deposition can help to put a lawyer’s argument in a different bracket and aid in winning the case.

Quick and Concise Delivery of Information

Lengthy cases can become boring, and allowing the judge or jury to become uninterested can be detrimental to a lawyer’s case. A videotaped deposition can help to elaborate on a point without the attorney having to go into too much detail themselves. Also, it allows the deciding party to hear from the witnesses directly, which lessens apprehensions about distortions in the information being provided. This helps to put the jury at ease and allows them to fully receive the facts being presented. It also decreases the chances of a juror missing key parts of information which can and often does occur when attorneys simply recant deposition transcripts.

Solidifies a Case

It is an attorney’s job to either build confidence in or create doubt in a case. Videotaped depositions can aid in either manner. For those attorneys looking to support a point, they can utilize a witness testimony to confirm statements that were made about the case. On the other hand, if an attorney is looking to discredit an account, they can look for and point out either discrepancies in what the witness said or a disconnect in what was said and what the witness’ body language projected. Either way, the videotape can help to solidify a lawyer’s argument in a way that no other form of discovery can, outside of a live testimony.

It is Relevant in Any Case

No matter what a case may be about, there is no proceeding too big or too small not to benefit from videotaping. Video can reveal the true essence of a witness’ testimony, which is important to have in any case. Even a perceived open and shut case can be enhanced with video support. Seeing the taping can help to eliminate any doubt in a judge or juror’s mind about the solidarity of an attorney’s argument which is an essential part in winning a case.

There are several advantages in videotaping depositions. Many attorneys stray away from it due mostly to the costs of hiring a professional videographer. However, it is possible to decrease or diminish that cost by the attorneys taping the depositions themselves. Either way, considering all of the benefits that come with a well taped deposition, it is well worth the money or effort. Quality videotaping can reveal the witnesses’ true sentiments, can help keep the attention of the judge or jury, can deliver information clearly and concisely and can aid in solidifying an attorney’s case. In short, deposition videotapes help to win cases.

 

Sources:

  1. http://caught.net/prose/depositiontips.htm
  2. http://www.protectingpatientrights.com/faqs/why-do-i-videotape-all-depositions.cfm
  3. http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources/resources/articles/youraba0410.html

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