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Courtroom Guide 

for Non-Lawyers


Courtroom Guide for Non-Lawyers:...


5 out of 5 stars=    Comprehensive Manual of Courtroom Procedures

Reviewer: The Rebecca Review

“Legal photography is photography used as pictorial communication evidence in a court trial in order to convey the observations of a witness more fully, more effectively, and more accurately than the witness’ verbal testimony alone. Legal photography provides the court and the jury with a clearer comprehension of the physical facts that could be be obtained otherwise.” –Benjamin J. Cantor

Benjamin J. Cantor has given us the gift of his life experience in the “Courtroom Guide for Non-Lawyers.” This is a very helpful book for those who find themselves unfamiliar with the legal ramifications which take place during trials in courtrooms across America.

After his daughter and editor, Ruth Roche, served as a juror in several court trials, she mentioned to her dad that if she only had more information about what to expect in a courtroom, her experiences would have been more enjoyable. This inspired Mr. Cantor to seek out more information on the subject, without much success. As a result, he decided to write an essential book for anyone who finds themselves in the position of litigant, witness or juror and has found themselves lost in the thicket of legal terminology and procedures.

“It’s important because It’s amazing in this democratic society of ours that so many average citizens find the courtroom an enigma.” – Benjamin J. Cantor

This book will also be helpful for doctors, engineers, accident reconstructionists, and anyone else who may serve as an expert witness in a court trial. Mr. Cantor graduated from engineering school in 1931 and in the midst of the Great Depression, there were few engineering jobs. He decided to reconstruct his long-time hobby in photography and make an avocation a vocation. This gave him the needed money for tuition for law school and helped him attain his long-range goal of becoming a patent attorney.

By the time he received his law degree in 1937, he had already established a photography business specializing in legal photography. He provided photographs for attorneys to assist them in preparing for their lawsuits.

Mr. Cantor founded and operated the Boston Photo Service which specializes in forensic photography for over 40 years. He has had a 50-year career in legal photography, during which he also testified in court as a expert photographic witness in hundreds of trials.

“I became aware of the many imperfections and perplexities in the judicial system of our legal process, especially in the courtroom.” –Benjamin J. Cantor

Since his retirement, he has been a consultant to the Boston Photo Service and has also been conducting seminars on legal evidence photography and the role of the expert witness in a court trial.

He has delivered lectures on forensic photography at Boston College Law School, Suffolk University Law School, Massachusetts Bar Associateion and many other legal forums. He is also the co-author of the treatise Photographs in Civil Litigation and has written numerous articles on forensic photography for professional law journals.


Interview with the Author – great idea!
488 Legal Terms
81 Suggestions for being a good witness
Information on Direct and Cross-Examination of a Photographer – This gives you a good idea of what to expect if you are called to testify as an expert witness.

Examples of Effective use of Photographic Evidence

My favorite section was the suggestions for being a good witness. Mr. Cantor includes a quote from Mark Twain that reads: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”


1. Criminal Law and Civil Law
2. Participants in a Court Trial: Litigants, Lawyers, Judge, Witnesses, Jurors, Court Officers (or Bailiffs), Court Reporters (Court Stenographers), Court Clerk, Law Clerk, Spectators.
3. Civil Trial Court Procedure
4. Photographic Evidence vs. Oral Testimony
5. Expert Witness
6. Equality Before the Law
7. Small Claims Court
8. Juvenile Court
9. Perjury in the Courtroom

I’ve already sent a copy of this book to a friend who I think may find it to be useful. Your friends will thank you if they find themselves as a witness and you present them with a copy of this book. I also thought this book would be extent for authors who are doing research on the subject of courtroom procedures.

Basically a hands-on guide for people who, at some time in their lives, are called upon as jurors or witnesses in a court trial. Also could be used as a textbook on the subject for police training and law students to help clarify some of the mysteries encountered in our legal system of justice.

Also look for:

The Role of the Expert Witness in a Court Trial by Benjamin J. Cantor

Photographs in Civil Litigation


Common Errors in English Usage


Practice Makes Perfect, December 22, 2006

Should that be "Practise" or did I use the right spelling?

In the United Kingdom, "practice" is the noun, "practise" the verb; but in the U.S. the spelling "practice" is commonly used for both, though the distinction is sometimes observed. ~ pg. 161

The entries in Paul Brians' "Common Errors in English Usage" are organized alphabetically and provide hours of amusement for anyone who loves language. This book brought back memories of childhood, in those moments where the use of "borrowed" and "lend" were taught at school. Then there is the every present annoyance of "its/it's." Who has not made a mistake while spelling lightening and lightning?

Humor abounds as in the picture of man and bear with the caption: "For a moment he was confused - was he being attacked by a bear presently or currently?"

Some of the most intriguing entries include:

immaculate conception/virgin birth

You can be jealous of your boyfriend's attraction to other women, but you're envious of your boyfriend's CD collection. ~ pg. 74

This book discusses redundancies, like "DVD disk," but doesn't discuss the difference between CDs and CD's. One if of course possessive while the other is plural.

If I said chai tea, would that be a redundancy? Actually, redundancy also means being unemployed. I still like saying chai tea, but this book says it is pointless and it is also called masala chai. As this tea grows every more popular, I'm sure the way we ask for tea will correct itself.

Why would anyone use sacred instead of scared? This book also deals with common typos. You have to love uses like "same difference." Why do they say "There is no such word as "verbage" when I do find this word in an online dictionary as "jargon." Of course, an urban dictionary may send some people into a state of shock. The author cautions against using nonstandard and obsolete words and says that just because a word is in a dictionary, doesn't mean it is being "endorsed."

If you tend to think up a lot of your own words or like to be playful then some of the entries will make you feel a little rebellious. For those who are longing to perfect their writing, this book can be invaluable. Well, as they say practice makes perfect although my first indication is to type "practise."

"Colour vs. Color" is a far less common usage problem, although I must say that as a child, I was smacked on the hands with a ruler for that one. I had apparently learned the word "color" before moving overseas.

This book would make a perfect present for anyone interested in language, will provide lots of laughs and will bring back memories from childhood. Frankly, I found this to be a fun book. OK, so now I can't use "Frankly" anymore. This book says that I have just abused the English language.

Sentences beginning with this word are properly admissions of something shocking or unflattering to the speaker; but when a public spokesperson for a business or government is speaking, it almost always precedes a self-serving statement. ~ pg. 88

If you have ever lived overseas or have tried to use foreign words, this book unveils faux pas and British/U.S. Spellings.

~The Rebecca Review


Common Errors in English Usage 2007 Calender


Desert/Dessert, December 22, 2006

That impoverished stretch of sand called a "desert" can only afford one "S." In contrast, that rich gooey extra thing at the end of the meal called a "dessert" indulges in two of them. ~ May 18, 2007

It only took trying to write a cookbook to help me figure out that the use of "desert" and "dessert" were one of the typos I would encounter quite often. Who has not wanted to type "expresso" instead of "espresso."

The eccentric humor throughout this calendar makes you smile. Should you use "foresee" or "forsee?" It gets even more fun when you consider using words like "supposably, supposingly or supposedly."

People who spell this French-derived word "nieve" make themselves look naïve. ~ August 21, 2007

Truncated versions of old sayings are clarified, foreign words demystified and pronunciations of words like vinaigrette are explained.

Overall, the Common Errors in English Usage is a humorous calendar with illuminating information for the word lover in you. Perfect for gifts!

~The Rebecca Review





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