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Courtroom Testimony Presented by Anna Roberts Smith.

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1 Courtroom Testimony Presented by Anna Roberts Smith

2 When does preparation for court start? When you receive the call!!!! When you receive the call!!!!

3 Taking the Case to Court  Seek out the prosecutor, district attorney or county attorney.  Find out who is handling your case.  Make an appointment to go over the case.  Find out what questions they are going to ask you  Find out what you can expect in the cross examination.  Ask about the witnesses.  Find out any problems with the case before it goes to trial.

4 Day of Court  Be on time!!!  Dress in a manor that reflects professionalism  You should have reviewed your reports, brought all your evidence and checked on witnesses.  Identify the suspect before court begins.  Be confident in your testimony.

5 Confidentiality  Never discuss the case with anyone you don’t know or on the phone.  All media interactions should be handled by your agency’s Public Information Officer.

6 Your Actual Testimony  Be serious about taking the oath  Look at the attorney asking the questions and direct answers to the judge or jury  Speak loud enough that the person in the last row of the courtroom can hear you.  Answer questions from defense the same way you answer from the prosecutor, be impartial and use the same tone and same facial expressions.

7 Your Actual Testimony  If you make a mistake let the prosecuting attorney know before you leave the courtroom.  Take a few seconds before responding to questions, to give the prosecutor time to object.  If distances and measurements are part of your testimony use the word approximate.

8 Your Actual Testimony  Use conversational language, no slang or technical terms.  Don’t become argumentative or angry.  When you step down, don’t glare at the defendant.

9 Common Tactics During Cross- Examination

10 Rapid Fire Questions  Example: One question after another with little time to answer.  Officers Response: Take time to consider the question, be deliberate in answering, ask to have the question repeated, remain calm.

11 Badgering, Belligerent  Example: Counsel staring you right in the face, shouts, “That is so isn’t it, officer?”  Officer Response: Stay calm, speak in a deliberate voice, giving prosecutor time to make appropriate objections. Don’t get angry.

12 Friendly Council  Example: Very courteous, polite, questions tend to take witness into his confidence.  Officer’s Response: Stay alert, bear in mind that the purpose of defense is to discredit or diminish the effect of your testimony

13 Mispronouncing Officer’s Name  Example: Officer’s name is Jansen, council calls him Johnson.  Officer’s response: Ignore the mispronouncing.

14 Suggestive Question  Example: Was the color of the car blue?  Officer’s Response: Concentrate carefully on the facts, disregard the suggestion. Answer the question.

15 Demanding a Yes or No Answer  Example: Did you strike the defendant?  Officer’s Response: Explain the answer to the question, if stopped by council demanding a yes or no answer, pause until the court instructs you answer in your own words.

16 Reversing Witnesses Words  Example: Witness answers, “The incident occurred 27 feet from the intersection.” Council says, “You say the incident occurred 72 feet from the intersection?”  Officers Response: Listen carefully whenever counsel repeats something you have said. If they make an error, correct them.

17 Repetitious Questions  Example: The same question asked several times slightly different.  Officers Response: Answer the same question twice, when council asks asks the third time, don’t say anything and look to the Judge for assistance. The prosecutor should object after you’ve answered twice.

18 Conflicting Answers  Example: But Officer Smith, Officer Brown just said ________  Officers Response: Remain calm, conflicting statements have a tendancy to make a witness extremely nervous. Be guarded in your answers on measurements, times, etc. unless you have exact knowledge. Use the word approximately.

19 Staring  Example: After the witness has answered, council just stares as though there were more to come.  Officers Response: Wait for the next question.

20 15 Ways to Lose Your Case  Walking into court looking like a bum.  If your case has a weak point and you don’t share that with the prosecutor.  If the defendant pleads not guilty and you take that personally.  If you become angry when opposing council questions you.

21 15 Ways to Lose Your Case  If you don’t worry about the facts.  If you guess about the facts  If you don’t make notes at the time of the investigation  If you review your notes during the trial  If you appear to be cocky.  If you act as though your job depends on a conviction.

22 13 Ways to Lose Your Case  If you ignore the law of search and seizure.  If you tell more than the question calls for.  If you argue with the judge or opposing council.

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