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Direct Examination and Witness

Preparation
1

JOHN W. VAUDREUIL
FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
The Comparison
2

Direct Examination
Prepare the witness

Help the witness tell the story clearly and concisely

Use short, open-ended questions and let the


witness do the talking

Use exhibits to bring the testimony to life


The Comparison
3

Cross Examination
No witness preparation

Obtain concessions and discredit the testimony


with attack questions

Control the witness with leading questions and


questioning style

Confront with key exhibits


Witness Pretrial Preparation
4

Why meet and prepare a witness to testify?

Ensure they attend the trial


Successfully develop the testimony needed

NOT COACHING or MANIPULATINGhelping the


witness come to court and tell the truth to the judge
Witness Pretrial Preparation
5

It is the duty of the prosecutor to meet with


witnesses and help them to be calm. If you build a
professional trust relationship, it will ensure
attendance and good performance.

Senior Punjabi Prosecutor


Islamabad, June 2009
Witness Pretrial Preparation
6

Prior briefing and witness preparation is crucial.


Help the witness by at least reviewing the prior
statements given the passage of time between the
events and the trial. No statute makes this illegal.

Senior KPK Judge


Bangkok, January 2014
Witness Pretrial Preparation
7

Four Goals
Explain the process of being a witness
Explain direct and cross examination
Help the witness become comfortable with giving
public testimony
Develop a professional relationship with the witness
and ensure they show up for the trial
Witness Pretrial Preparation
8

The Guidelines
Never meet with a witness alone

Noset ruleseach witness differs in intelligence,


experience, and fear of testifying

Use the Coming-to-Court handbook


Witness Pretrial Preparation
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Standard Procedures
Simulate in-court questions and answers for both
direct and cross-examination
Show or describe courtroom settings
Review prior statements given to police or
investigators
Review all exhibits that will be shown to the witness
during trial testimony
Direct Examination
Purposes and Goals

10

1. Introduce the witness to the court

2. Present your facts clearly and concisely to


prove crime elements: the T Chart and the
evidence links

3. Develop testimony so it is understood,


accepted, and remembered
Direct Examination
Purposes and Goals
11

4. Help the witness tell the story not the


questioning attorney

5. Establish the believability of the witness who


they are, what they say, and how they say it
Eight Techniques to Achieve the Goals
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1. Use short, open-ended questions Who? What?


Where? Why? When? How? Let the witness
talk, not the attorney

2. Use simple, clear questions to elicit single facts

3. Organize questions chronologically


Techniques to Achieve the Goals
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4. Use clear transition language HEADLINES


to help the listener follow the examination

5. Use varying pace to slow down and emphasize


key testimony

6. Use replays to emphasize key testimony put


part of answer in the next question
Techniques to Achieve the Goals
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7. Use demonstrations and visual aids (documents,


photos, physical evidence, charts, diagrams) to
explain and bring the testimony to life

8. Listen to the witness clarify answers with


further questions
General Structure Fact Witness
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Witness background introduce the witness to the court


and set the stage for competent testimony.

Set the scene with a headline question.

Focus on the key facts this witness brings to the trial and
develop those facts with short, open questions.

Set the next scene with another headline question, then


develop those key facts with short, open questions.
Direct Examination Witness Outline
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Mohammad Sohail
I.Background

Name, Age, Residence


Teller at Standard Charter Bank-- Sector F 11/3
Islamabad
Teller Supervisor 10 yearsExplain duties
Direct Examination Witness Outline
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II. Turn your attention to July 13, 2015, after lunch


Working at teller window #2 [mark bank diagram]
Just returned from lunch and opened drawer

III. I would now like to ask you about the robbery


Person approaches window and hands over note
Wearing white baseball cap, face covered with blue
scarf, big sunglasses [have the note Idd and read]
[ID cap, scarf, and sunglasses]
Direct Examination Witness Outline
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After handing you this note, what did the robber do?
Lifted shirt and showed a gun [demonstrate what the
robber did; describe gun in detail (color and size);
ID gun exhibit]
After the robber lifted his shirt and showed you the
gun, what did you do?
Feeling nervous, sweating, didnt want to die
Put money in bag including bait bills [explain bait
bills and silent alarm]
Direct Examination Witness Outline
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Robber grabs bag and runs


Ive been robbed!
Run to front door with Manager
See robber get in passenger side of green car
See R in license plate