Security Administration Viii 3 Testifying In Court
Testifying in Court
• Grand Jury vs. Trial Jury
• Expert vs. Regular Witnesses
• Preparing for Court
• Speaking/Acting with Confidence
• Giving Your Testimony
Grand Jury vs. Trial Jury
• Both examine the relevant evidence of a case
• Grand juries decide whether to indict (bring
formal charges against) a suspect.
• Trial juries determine whether the defendant
should be acquitted of the charges against
• Grand jury is more closed and relaxed
• Prosecution and defense attorneys go to trial
Sequence of a Criminal Trial
• Jury selection.
• Opening statements by prosecution and
• Prosecution’s case presentation.
• Defense’s case presentation.
• Closing statements by prosecution and
• Instructions to jury.
• Jury deliberation to reach verdict.
• Reading of verdict.
• Acquittal or passing of sentence.
Expert vs. Regular Witnesses
• Provide Opinion
• They go on thinking that
their legal instinct and their
common sense supplies
them with all that is needed
and somewhat more . . .
• Yes – if the average Juror (or
Judge) does not have the
necessary experience and
• Work Experience
• Formal Education
• Experience as an Expert
• Passing a Standardized Test
• Recognition by Academic Institution
• Recognition by a Professional
Justice Blackmun explained that “absent
an acceptable showing of such a nexus,
evidence on the phases of the moon
indicating that it was full on a certain
night could not be received to show that a
particular individual was behaving
irrationally on that evening.”
• How can we expect jurors to
decide between experts when the
jurors’ ignorance is the premise
for allowing the expert to
testify in the first place?
•Learned Hand, 1901
Preparing for Court
• Begins at the scene
• Take good notes
• Review your report
• Be confident
• Be prepared to explain
• Direct examination: the initial questions
of a witness or defendant by the lawyer
who is using the person’s testimony to
further his or her case.
• Cross-examination: Questioning by the
opposing side for the purpose of
assessing the validity of the testimony.
Speaking/Acting with Confidence
• Get/stay familiar with the court
• Know the major players
• Don’t discuss the case in public
• Treat people with respect, be professional &
• Don’t get personal
• Be on time
• Dress right
Giving Your Testimony
• To effectively testify in court:
– Be prepared.
– Look professional.
– Act professionally.
• Attempts will be made to discredit or
impeach the testimony of the security
officer in court.
• Opinion (unless qualified as an expert).
• Privileged communication.
• Statements about character and
reputation, including the defendant’s
past criminal record.
• Speak clearly, firmly and with expression.
• Answer questions directly. Do not volunteer
• Pause briefly before answering.
• Refer to your notes if you do not recall exact
• Admit calmly when you do not know an
• Admit any mistakes you make is testifying.
• Avoid jargon, sarcasm and humor.
• Tell the complete truth as you know it.
• Refer to your notes if you are
uncertain of specific facts, but do not
rely on them excessively.
Nonverbal Elements in Testimony
• Important nonverbal elements include:
– Eye contact.
– Rate of speech.
– Tone of voice.
Strategies for Testifying
• Set yourself up.
• Provoke the defense into
giving you a chance to explain.
• Be unconditional.
• Do not stall.
Cross-Examination by the Defense
• The defense attorney may:
– Be disarmingly friendly or intimidatingly rude.
– Attack your credibility and impartiality.
– Attack your investigative skill.
– Attempt to force contradictions or inconsistencies.
– Ask leading questions or deliberately misquote
– Ask for a simple answer to a complex question.
– Use rapid-fire questioning.
– Use the silent treatment.
Cross-Examination by the Defense
• Avoid conclusions and nonresponsive
• Answer yes-or-no questions with
“yes” or “no.”
• What is important in testifying in court?
• What is the usual sequence of a criminal
• What is direct examination? Cross-
• What kinds of statements are
inadmissible in court?
• How can one testify most effectively?
• When should you use notes when
• What nonverbal elements can influence
courtroom testimony positively and
• What strategies can make testifying in
court more effective?
• What defense attorney tactics should an