JUDGE – This is the person in charge. It is that simple. The Judge makes all the decisions as to how the court runs. Ths is not the person you want to dislike you in any way. ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL TO THE JUDGE. Always address the Judge as “Your Honor”, “Sir” if the Judge is a male, or “Mam” if the Judge is female. As a party to the case, you should only address the Judge if they directly ask you a question or ask you to speak. During a “Bench Trial,” the Judge will sit as the “Fact Finder” and determine the outcome. Talking to the Judge is one of the reasons you hire me to represent you. That is my job.
BAILIFF - The Bailiff will assist the Judge by enforcing the rules of the court. Bailiffs also work as a mediator between the Judge and the Jury. LISTEN TO THE BAILIFF’S DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM. Again, if you are in court, you want as many people there to like you as you can. Bailiff’s will be observing you in court and will tell the Judge and other people in court what they observe.
PROSECUTOR - In a criminal case, this is another person you want to like you. The Prosecutor is an attorney who works for the State of Georgia. Their job is to represent the State and see that persons who commit wrong doings and crimes are held responsible. ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL TO THE PROSECUTOR AND ADDRESS THEM AS “SIR” OR “MAM”. The Prosecutor is doing their job and most of them do it very well. Once you have hired me as your attorney, the prosecutor cannot and should not talk to you about your case. As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that almost all the excuses have been used up and they will probably not believe anything you have to say anyway. I understand how prosecutors look at a case and how certain things should be addressed. Therefore, you should let me, your attorney, talk to the prosecutor on your behalf.
YOUR ATTORNEY - that would be me. I am here to represent you in every way through the court process. I will address the Court on your behalf and speak to the opposing counsel. Whether this is trying to work out a settlement on a civil case or trying to get your case dismissed by showing the prosecutor the weaknesses in their case. I will file motions asking the court to consider or not consider certain pieces of evidence or testimony. I will question witnesses and ensure that all your constitutional rights are upheld. I will zealously represent you to trial, if that is your decision. Here, I will question the jurors and try to determine which jurors have any biases against you. I will strike the jurors who cannot be fair and keep the jurors who can. I will show the weaknesses of the State’s case and I WILL ARGUE YOUR SIDE to the jurors or the Judge. That is my job, it is what I do for my clients.
OPPOSING COUNSEL - in criminal cases opposing counsel is the prosecutor. They will not speak to you as long as you are represented. In civil cases, the insurance company or other party will have an attorney that is also representing them. They will normally not speak to you concerning your case. However, on occasion they may try to converse with you to get information about your case. ALWAYS SPEAK TO YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE TALKING WITH THE OPPOSING COUNSEL. Anything you say could be recorded and later turned around to be used against you. Remember, I WILL BE THERE TO REPRESENT YOU.
JURY – These are the “fact finders” of the case. They are the people who listen to the evidence, determine what they are going to believe, and ultimately decide who will win and who will lose the case. These are the most important people on the case. You cannot address the jury unless you are on the witness stand. Remember the Jury is always watching you. I cannot tell you how many cases are won and lost by the Jury “seeing something” outside of court, inside of court, or in the hallways of the courthouse. Always be respectful and remember SOMEONE IS ALWAYS WATCHING YOU in and out of the courthouse.
WITNESS - A person who takes the witness stand, promises to tell the truth, and testifies before the “fact finder”. These are the people who will tell the story of the case.
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