Why Are Some Depositions Videotaped?

February 7, 2022 7:03 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Litigation is expensive, which drives some attorneys to try to keep costs low whenever possible. If there’s one area where you shouldn’t cut costs, it’s videotaping depositions. Think of video depositions as a necessary part of the process—and if you’re not willing to take video, that witness’s testimony might not be that important.

Here’s why you should consider taping every deposition you take.

Why depositions are videotaped

Transcripts are an important evidentiary document. The written record makes it easy to analyze testimony, highlight contradictions and come prepared with impeachment material. Unlike video, however, it is much harder to infer tone. There’s no way to tell whether a witness is fidgety, aggressive, visibly upset or other important information.

When you read that testimony back for the jury, adding inflection or emphasis is a quick way to earn an objection from opposing counsel. Even if you remember the exact way a witness expressed themselves in the deposition, there’s no way to prove that—unless you have video.

Videotaping depositions allows juries to see and hear the witness. They can draw their own conclusions about the witness’s truthfulness, state of mind and body language. This can have a powerful impact on whether a witness appears credible.

The effect of video isn’t limited to trial. Attorneys can bolster their cases by creating short clips to play at mediation and before trial. Not only is it admissible evidence, but it’s a way to show opposing counsel, the judge or mediator that you’re organized, prepared and have a compelling case.

Additional benefits of videotaping depositions

Video depositions can add important visual context to a witness’s testimony, and thorough preparation is one of the best ways to win your case; however, there are a few other reasons you should consider video depositions.

First, think about the way we receive news and information today. If you have younger members on your jury, they are used to seeing videos on social media, news sites, YouTube and other popular media sources. Not only is it a great way to show juries how the witness actually behaved—not just the words they used—but it’s almost expected today. Keep them engaged and interested by communicating on their level.

Finally, showing video clips is a far faster way to get your point across. Instead of reading dry transcript testimony (which isn’t particularly interesting), make a multimedia presentation that will keep everyone’s eyes on you. It’s very easy to lose focus when listening to testimony, especially if your jurors don’t want to be there in the first place. They’ll appreciate faster, more engaging ways of presenting your testimony—and you’re more likely to get the jurors on your side.

Video depositions are necessary

In this day and age, video depositions are indeed necessary. Although they may seem like an extra expense, the value of video testimony can’t be overstated.

Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC specializes in court reporting and video depositions. To book a session or to learn more, call our offices today.

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