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Guidelines for Witnesses

  1. Arrive early so you can look around the courtroom and become comfortable with your surroundings.
  2. Neat appearance and proper dress are important.
  3. Before testifying, prepare yourself by recalling the facts, but do not memorize your testimony.
  4. Listen carefully to the question asked, and think before speaking. If you do not understand a questions, ask to have it explained.
  5. Speak clearly and loudly enough for the jury or judge to hear you.
  6. Answer only the questions asked, directly and simply. Do not volunteer information. Do not guess or speculate.
  7. Do not answer if there is an objection. Wait until you are told to proceed.
  8. Do not lose your temper. During cross-examination, remain calm, composed and courteous. Even if the attorney questioning you appears to be discourteous, being polite makes a good impression on the court and the jury.

Above all, remember that you are speaking to a judge or jury. Look at them when you answer questions. A good rule of thumb is to look at a different person for each answer that you give.

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Joseph J. Rodgers, Chartered
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