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Hung jury: EMS lessons from an unsuccessfully tried murder case

Chris Cebollero shares his jury duty experience and the takeaways on integrity, documentation and admitting your mistakes

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In this episode of Inside EMS, cohosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss the importance of integrity, documentation and tracking errors in the field.

Chris spent the past week in jury duty, listening to prosecutors unsuccessfully try a murder case that resulted in a hung jury.

He shares details that tripped up law enforcement officers testifying in the case, and the jury’s perspective on errors made, lies told and how integrity doubts derailed the case.

Memorable quotes

“One of the things that you need to be able to remember is you should not talk about anything that is not written in your report, because they will tear it apart, and I watched that happen ... when we talk about documentation, why documentation is very, very important is because it’s the little nuances that you leave out that now you’re going to discuss that are going to get you into trouble.” — Chris Cebollero

“In working with Gene Gandy back in the day … he used to say that the plaintiff’s attorney – in a malpractice case – his job is to make you look like a sloppy idiot, and your attorney’s job is to make you look like Johnny Gage. And the weapon that each one of them will use is your report. And it’s up to you to determine who it’s more valuable to: the plaintiff’s attorney or your attorney.” — Kelly Grayson

“We, in civil cases in EMS, we don’t really get a jury of our peers. You know, we may have people who are demographically very similar to us, but as far as judging our actions, what they know is Hollywood, which is about as realistic a portrayal of EMS and medicine in general as your average Disney movie.” — Kelly Grayson

“The briefer your remarks, the better your case is going to be received, and that’s true, you know, it’s probably just like an EMS lecture. If you go on forever and ever, you lose people. You want to capture their interest, say what you need to say, and set the stage for what’s going to come.” — Kelly Grayson


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