Every attorney should give their clients this list, but damn near none do!
I used to have plenty of time to prepare witnesses for trial when I started as a Deputy Attorney General. I often spent evenings in the office preparing witnesses. But, toward the end (and one reason I left) I was getting 8 or 10 cases given me one or two days before trial, or on the day of trial. So I prepared this page to hand to every witness!
It is great information, useful for any court or agency (DMV) (CPS) (DOC) hearing or trial! READ it before such proceedings, and again on the morning of any such proceeding.
You also may want to see other INVALUABLE and IMPORTANT TIPS!
TEN TIPS FOR TRIAL …………especially with jury. (And I’ve had 500+ jury trials) updated 11/2/12
• Look at the judge or jury (or Board). Look them in the eye while you testify! Don’t stare at them, but make frequent eye contact. Sit up straight.
• Tell the truth. Getting caught (and there is a good chance you will get caught if the lawyers are good!) in one little lie can result in jurors believing NOTHING you say!
• Only answer the question asked you. Do NOT volunteer any “extra” information, just answer the question. If your lawyer wants more, he/she will ask another question.
• If your lawyer objects, stop talking—-shut the *&$% up —-so he can state the objection and get a ruling on it.
• If you are not sure about something, say so. You can say “I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure……. “ Or “ I can’t say for sure, I’m under oath here, but as I recall………..”
• If you are sure, say so. “I remember it like it was yesterday, that guy was so out of control….” Or “Are you kidding? I’ll never forget something like that….” Or “Yes, I am positive, no doubt at all…….I’m under oath here.”
• Do Not, under any circumstances, get angry or lose your cool on the stand. Some jackass opposing counsel might try to get you mad. You know it’s coming… you stay cool and respectful. If he/she is really being a jerk….stop, look at the judge and then the jury…. And then say something like “That’s not true and you know it as well as I do!”
• If the opposing lawyer tries to put words in your mouth, or states facts that are not correct, call him on it! Example: “Well, you’ll say anything to help your friend, won’t you?” you say: “That’s not true at all, I swore to tell the truth and that’s what I’m here to do”. Or he says “You’re not at all sure what you saw, are you?” you say “I certainly am; you don’t forget something like that!”
• If you do not understand the question, say so, and/or ask to have it repeated. “I’m not sure what you mean”…..”I’m not sure what you’re getting at..” “Could you please repeat that?” “Will you please rephrase that?” Need I say it…be polite!… Call the judge, even if a Bozo, “Your Honor”.
• Be prepared; if there’s a main point you want to make, fit it in…like “Man, we gave him a million chances to pay this bill, called him several times, wrote to him…he said he’d stiff us and now he’s trying to do it.”
Relax, just relax and use common sense AND LOOK AT THOSE FOLKS WHEN YOU TALK TO THEM. You are talking to them…they are going to decide. You’d be surprised how “shifty” it looks if you look all around or stare at the floor.
OK, review this the night before trial. You’re “good to go”!