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INTRODUCTION

What makes an officer an effective witness in


court?

Professionalism

It depicts a witness as credible, believable and


reliable.

It is an attribute than can be developed and


cultivated.
1. Appear and behave professionally.

2. Before the trial starts, walk in to the courtroom


and familiarize yourself where the witness
chair is located and the path you need to take to
get to it.

3. Dress professionally.
4. When you sworn in, look at the jury and say, in a
loud, clear voice, I do.

5. Once you are seated, sit up straight and look at the


questioning attorney, when answering make eye
contact wit h the judge.

6. Answer all questions clearly. Do not nod.


7. Keep your hands in your lap. Keep them away from
your mouth.

8. If you need to ask the judge a question, look at the


judge and say Your Honor wait till the judge gives
you permission before you ask the question.

9. Listen very carefully to the question. Make sure you


understand it before you answer.
10. If either attorney objects, stop talking, let the
judge rule on the objection and then continue.

11. If you make a mistake, admit it.

12. Never memorize your testimony.


13.If the other side asks a question that you
think is objectionable, pause before
answering and give your attorney a
chance to object.

14.Avoid looking at your attorney when


answering questions.
UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION

-Listen very carefully to the question.


Make sure you understand it before you
answer.

-Think before you answer.


DO NOT VOLUNTEER INFORMATION
-Just answer what is asked. Do not avoid the
answer by volunteering information.

-Answer the question and stop. Do not


overdo it.
DO NOT LOSE YOUR TEMPER/DONT GET
SARCASTIC
-(always be courteous, even if the attorney
questioning you appears discourteous. Avoid
being combative. It is a common ploy by
defense counsel to lose your focus and destroy
you credibility)
REFRESH YOUR MEMORY
-(try to picture the scene, the objects there,
the distances and exactly what happened.
Know the important details necessary to
prove the case)
BE POSITIVE AND CONFIDENT

-(give positive and definite answer when at all


possible. If you do not know, say so. If asked
with little details which you do not naturally
remember, it is best to say you do not remember.
Do not make up an answer especially if it can be
verified by documents)
BE PREPARED

-(know the facts of the case. Review police


reports, affidavits, documentary and object
evidence, transcript)

-Depends on the complexity and seriousness of


the case. (eg. Drug case vs. theft case)

-Lack of preparedness is a common pitfall.


TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

-(avoid the temptation to embellish the


truth just a bit. It is not necessary and if
you are caught it makes your whole
testimony a suspect)
AVOIDING TRAPS
CROSS EXAMINATION ABOUT POLICE REPORT
(defense counsel will point differences between the
testimony and the report.)

Dont be defensive. If there was an error, admit it. If


something was omitted, say so.

Explain that the purpose of the report is simply to


describe basically what happened.
AVOIDING TRAPS
DID YOU TALK TO THE PROSECUTOR?
(defense counsel will try to point that you are coached
by the prosecutor)

Admit it. There is nothing wrong with it. Do not make


any explanations or excuses.

distinction between guiding how to answer facts


efficiently and coaching what to say in court.
AVOIDING TRAPS
REPEATED QUESTIONS/ANSWERS

(defense counsel will repeat series of questions with


minor changes but technicallythe same question order
for the witness to make an inconsistent answer or
series of questions that the witness cannot answer)

Give some thought and respond directly as possible.


AVOIDING TRAPS
SUMMARIZING PREVIOUS TESTIMONY

(defense counsel will ask with a summary of a


previous testimony but it is somewhat incorrect.
He paraphrases what the witness said earlier)

Listen carefully.

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