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Witness Checklist

Final Interview

Witness Checklist

  1. militarydefenselawyers288Explain the theory of the case and where the witness fits in.
  2. Have witness read previous statements.
    1. Is anything misleading? Errors? Do you remember differently now?
    2. Explain impeachment, rehabilitation, refreshing recollection, past recollection recorded.
  3. Revisit scene, if necessary.
  4. Have the physical evidence in the interview.
    1. If sealed containers, have DC send a representative if necessary.
  5. Rehearse.
  6. It is okay to talk to the other lawyer. Tell the truth.

Checklist

  1. General:
    1. Wear all badges and decorations.
    2. When outside the courtroom, be serious and polite. Don’t discuss the case. Don’t speak to other court members.
    3. How to take the stand.
    4. Taking the oath, be serious but pleasant.
    5. Look at the person asking the question.
    6. Be silent and wait if anyone objects or interrupts.
  2. Direct:
    1. Opening questions will be basic stuff. Relax, panel can size you up.
    2. Listen carefully to all questions.
    3. If you don’t understand, say so and ask for clarification.
    4. Talk in paragraphs.
    5. Don’t memorize – testify from memory.
    6. Explain what you saw, rather than drawing conclusions (he was red, slammed fist into wall rather than he was angry)
    7. Don’t volunteer information.
    8. If an estimate, say so. Time and distance is often off.
    9. Don’t exaggerate or make overly broad generalizations.
    10. If an answer is incorrect or incomplete, correct immediately.
  3. Cross-Examination:
    1. You are not on trial – won’t expose every bad thing you have done.
    2. Tell the truth.
    3. Be firm but polite. Be confident. Just explain what you know.
    4. No sarcasm.
    5. Don’t try to outwit the other attorney.
    6. Don’t be bullied into a yes or no answer if the question can’t be answered by yes or no.
    7. If you need to explain, explain, but don’t volunteer information.
    8. Don’t be afraid of silence. Wait for the next question.
    9. Correct any mistakes immediately.
    10. If you don’t know, say so. There is nothing wrong with not knowing.
    11. I can conduct redirect. This isn’t your only chance.
    12. Don’t look at me if you get in trouble. Look at the judge.
  4. Last:
    1. Is there anything else I should know?
    2. I’m only interested in the truth.