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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 113784 Find in a Library
Title: Witness Primer
Journal: Case and Comment  Volume:93  Issue:5  Dated:(September-October 1988)  Pages:31-33
Author(s): R D Charleston
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: When called to testify, it is important that individuals ask questions of what is expected of them and their testimony.
Abstract: Witnesses should stick to the facts, answer the questions that are asked, and answer honestly. If a question is unclear or the answer unknown, the witness should indicate this. Witnesses should use their own vocabulary and their own words. Testimony must be verbal, and responses should be paced so as to avoid talking over the attorney asking questions. Answers should be straightforward, direct, and specific. Generalizations should be avoided. If witnesses make mistakes, they should acknowledge this and clear the record. If there is an objection or the judge or attorney interrupts the testimony, the witness should not speak again until instructed to do so. Witnesses should not lose their tempers or engage in a battle of wits with the attorney. The proceedings should be treated with dignity and respect. If witnesses tire after long questioning, they should ask for a break so as to avoid sloppy answers and frayed nerves. Cross-examination serves to bring out inconsistencies and fabrications from the direct examination. If testimony was truthful, cross-examination should be brief and anticlimatic and questions should be answered in a direct, honest, and straightforward manner. By following these guidelines, witnesses can help the court reporter, the attorney, themselves, and their cases.
Main Term(s): Witnesses
Index Term(s): Cross-examination; Testimony
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