Guidelines for Trial Witness Testimony

  1. Always tell the truth and describe the people, the events, the times, or the places as you remember them.  Never guess or speculate about what you saw or heard.  What you saw or heard may not be the same as what other witnesses saw or heard.  It is up to the judge to decide what actually happened after the judge has heard everyone testify.

  2. Listen carefully to the questions.  Take your time and think about your answers.

  3. Answer only the questions asked; do not offer any extra information.

  4. Speak slowly and loudly.

  5. Avoid using street slang.  Use plain English.

  6. If you do not understand a question, tell the attorney or judge and ask for an explanation.

  7. If you cannot remember certain facts, say so, but do not use this response to avoid answering a question.

  8. If an attorney objects to a question do not answer it until the judge tells you what to do.

  9. Remember to stay calm and do not lose your temper, even if the attorney seems rude or makes you angry.  He or she is testing your ability to accurately remember facts about the crime.

  10. Do not argue with a defense attorney.