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Past Brooklyn Bar Association president participates in NYSBA trial academy

September 18, 2020 Robert Abruzzese
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Past Brooklyn Bar Association President David Chidekel participated in this year’s New York State Bar Association Trial Academy Virtual Conference webinar.

The annual event typically takes place at Cornell Law School, but in the midst of the pandemic, the State Bar Association decided to hold a virtual conference instead that started on June 19 and will last through Dec. 17.

“We are offering a 13-part webinar series running through to December 2020, detailing trial techniques you won’t find anywhere else,” said NYSBA Secretary Sherry Levin Wallach. “From ‘Handling a Virtual Hearing’ to ‘Expert Testimony,’ we’ve created trial programs to cover topics during our current virtual climate, as well as planning ahead for a return to the new normal.”

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Michael Getnick, past president of the NYS Bar Association.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, Chidekel lectured during a two-hour continuing legal education discussion entitled, “Making Objections and Rules of Evidence.” He was joined by Hon. Desmond Green, administrative judge of the Richmond County Supreme Court, and Michael Getnick, former president of the NYSBA.

The discussion covered objections and how to use them to gain an edge in a case. Specifically, Chidekel explained strategies about when to object and when not to and how to select the correct objection.

“There are 25 privileges and those privileges, if violated, are the basis for making valid objections so you should know which privilege applies to the various cases that you have so you can prevent evidence against your client,” Chidekel explained. “Remember, when you make objections in criminal cases, is it relevant and is it prejudicial?”

Hon. Desmond Green, the administrative judge of the Staten Island Supreme Court, and former justice of the Kings County Supreme Court.

Chidekel and Getnick, along with Justice Green, discussed strategies and even went over evidence to better explain examples of right and wrong ways to conduct voir dire.

“I’d ask the witness — does this picture reflect the same time you were there?” Chidekel said. “Are the weather conditions the same? Is the lighting the same? Is the position the same? Were those officers in the same positions? Who took the photograph? When did you first see this picture? Did someone explain anything in this picture to you? These are the type of questions I would ask in voir dire.”

When discussing the impact of technology in the courtroom when it comes to the rules of evidence, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice Green explained that he thinks the changes have been positive and that some of them will be here to stay.

David Chidekel entered this piece of evidence into the Zoom discussion and talked about what his voir dire strategies would be during a trial.

“A lot of what we’ve been doing virtually, we are going to continue,” Justice Green said. “With regards to virtual trials, that’s more challenging, but a lot more will have to go into it such as rulings on evidence … that will make it better. The discussions tend to be a lot better, in terms of talking to lawyers. For example, you can be making appearances in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, anywhere in the city, and you can have your appearances done by 10 a.m.”

The next part of the NYSBA’s series will continue on Friday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. when there will be a two-hour seminar on pre- and post-trial motions, including motions in limine. Then on Friday, Oct. 16, there will be a webinar on expert testimony at 2 p.m. Check the bar association’s website for more information on the remaining four series that will run through December.


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