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Harris Tapping All-Stars To Train DAs

The Recorder - March 23, 2004

By Pam Smith
On Friday, three former San Francisco prosecutors -- Chiantelli; Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley partner James Lassart; and San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini -- returned to the DA's office to share their wisdom on direct examination. The seasoned lawyers offered tips on how to read a judge's mind and prepare witnesses. And they warned their students to never, ever rely solely on police or experts to sum up the evidence. Giannini used the chorus of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to drive home a point about putting a witness through the paces of their story three times. "That process of repetition will cement the veracity," he said. He also advised the prosecutors to review any video or audio tape in its entirety -- even if "the guy is sitting there for an hour and a half scratching himself." And, Lassart warned, "If you put in a piece of clothing, you go through the pockets."