Guidelines for Keeping A Good Case Journal for Trial

The Most Important Motions in Criminal Cases
December 13, 2014
How to Write a Brief
December 14, 2014
Show all

Guidelines for Keeping A Good Case Journal for Trial

Your trial journal should tell a story.

Don’t make this difficult. This is supposed to make it easier for you and/or your attorney.

The idea is to organize what information you already have–the Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

It is all about people, when they did what, and how to reach them by email, telephone, letter. Here is the format. Put all your case information in Civil Soot’s online trial journal system.

Each section has instructions and some sample data. Then send a copy to me. Add new items as you think of it, if you have an attorney, that person you can choose to give access to them.

Note: The chronology and list of players are the most important sections.


The Police Reports. You can fax or email them to me.


Chronology – one of 2 critical items. Do it!

1980 May 23     I was born.


1998 June 22    I got married.


2003 Sept 28    Traffic stop. They arrested me for possession of methamphetamine.


2004 March 30 Today discovery says that they sent discovery to the public defender. Why did not the public defender office notify Betty?


List of Players – the other critical part to your story:

Superior Court of Utopian County. 123 Main street, Utopia, California 91034. Telephone 845-789-1234. Fax: 789-1235.

Email: [email protected] Web site:

Defendant Betty Brown. 530 555 1234. [email protected] DOB 1 Jan 1974. Address: 123 Main st. Happytown CA 93123 Occupation: Carpenter. Criminal record:


Family (if you say that you have no money they I will call your family and ask them for money.)

Dad Sean Davis Smith. cell 123 4567. home 123 4569 on Los Feliz Ave. 234 5678.

Mom Susie Jones:

My Sister Sandy McDuff, 456 Lily white Lane, Goodwill, Wisconsin. 797 479 4949. [email protected] She is very helpful and is happy to help.



Dominic Roosevelt. Known 25 years. 805 445 4455




Public Defender Joe Quick. 530 555 1212. [email protected] 445 Main St., Quincy CA 98753.


Here are ideas for people who should maybe be on your list of players. Be sure and list these people if they are part of your life and/ or your case.


the court. Tell me where your case is being heard.

the cops

the witnesses

the alleged victims

the court reporter

the other court reporter

the next court reporter

the clerk in the courtroom

your lawyer

your lawyer’s secretary

your previous lawyer

the lawyer before that

the prosecutor

the judge

the court in your other case

the state court of appeal

your local federal court


your wife

your previous wife

your support group – list each member



For every person I want the following information. Write down the information that you have. I am not asking you to do Research. I am merely asking you to organize what informationyou have. For each court and human player tell me:

their telephone number,

their mailing address,

their email address,

t their fax number,

their cell phone number if you know it,

their actual address if you know it,

their home page if you know it

their age, and

their dossier. (Dossier means “tell me what we need to know about this person”. Some players won’t need a dossier.)




The end for now. Below this line is strictly optional for you. Don’t worry about it for now.





Schedule of Upcoming Appearances and Motions in this case.


Thursday 29 April                       6261 (6258)      Suppression Motion                                 Filed April 1

Thursday 13 May 2004               6258     Demurrer                                                              Filed April 1


Documents filed and achievements in this case

This section is not important, but you may want to list the documents in chronological order.

1.         Letter to D.A. demanding discovery. Hand delivered. # (File an informal demand for discovery with the prosecutor. Done)

2.         1st motion. Demurrer filed. When?

3.         2nd motion. Suppression motion filed.

4.         3rd motion. Hearing brief. Informed court about discovery abuse by prosecution.

5.         4th motion. 6279. 1054 discovery demand. Refused to read.

6.         5th action. Notice of appeal.

Questions of Law to be answered.

This section is not important

Questions of fact to be answered.

This section is important

List of court papers to file and other work in this case.

Don’t worry about his.

Case Numbers

Write your case numbers here.

Pertinent Statutes

I can do this. Or you can help.

Pertinent Jury Instructions

Not important now.


Statement of the case – for use on pleadings

I will write this.

Strategy. Confidential.

I will write this.

Legal Issues in this case.

Don’t fret about this section.

Research Notes

Don’t fret about this section.


Time Accounting and Billing

Don’t fret about this section.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *