They should sit straight and stay calm. Take the time you need to fully understand the question and give the proper response. Be aware that experienced prosecutors know this and may not come to your defense as quickly as they might a lay witness with an objection that the defense is "being argumentative" or "harassing the witness." Remember: "Poise is the ability to be ill-at-ease inconspicuously. The burden of those officers who fail to meet the challenge is borne by every law enforcement officer, and by every victim whose crime goes unredressed because we did not properly train and mentally prepare for our courtroom confrontations. It's this simple – if you, as a law enforcement officer, lose your cool on the stand, no matter what kind of case, you lose all credibility with the jury. Expert witnesses carry a great influence over a jury’s decision. Moreover, anything you might use to refresh your recollection on the stand should have long ago been provided to the prosecutor who can ensure compliance with all rules regarding discovery obligations.]. Don't inject long pauses between words, phrases or sentences but do concentrate on making each word clearly heard and understood. Every court appearance I've seen, be it trial, or jury duty, where police are expected to testify, the judge tells the jury that you shouldn't add or subtract any weight for police testimony. Look at each person or group of persons in the courtroom. A question should be answered, "Yes, sir," or "No, sir," and the judge should … Twitter. Don't avoid looking at the judge or jurors; look back at them as you would a person speaking with you. Testifying in court may be one of the more difficult and important tasks an officer faces in their career. Remind yourself of that. No tinted glasses or flashy jewelry. Wouldn't you like to know the criteria? Keep a copy of the instruction and re-read it before beginning every investigation and each time before you testify. interacts online and researches product purchases Nevertheless, effective officers should pay a lot of attention to their non-verbal language. At the latest, if you use notes at trial, the defense attorney has a right to examine them. Correct Answer: all of these choices. This instruction, which is usually part of a longer one that provides guidelines on judging the credibility of witnesses, often includes a statement similar to the following: “You should bear in mind that inconsistencies and contradictions in a witness' testimony, or between the testimony and that of others, do not necessarily mean that you should disbelieve the witness. Question 1 1.5 out of 1.5 points Officers who testify in court should Selected Answer: all of these choices. All rights reserved. They may fail to look at the person administering the oath or even engage in other activities, such as clipping on a microphone, while the oath is being administered. Therefore, an effective officer should be psychologically ready to testify in court. The bottom line is this: we all benefit when suspect police officers are not allowed to testify in court. Lexipol. Copyright © 2020 Police1. Look for a box or option labeled “Home Page (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari)” or “On Startup (Chrome)”. Investigators have gathered lots of additional evidence and you think the case is sealed...a conviction is in the bag. You should be exceptionally neat – fingernails clean, hair trimmed, clothes pressed, shoes shined. They do not watch or look; they surveille. In case of effective officers, they perform the function of both fact witnesses and experts because, along with facts, their opinion on the subject matter may be needed. It's normal to be nervous and anxious on the stand. If it's necessary to use technical terms, explain their meaning. No stone has gone unturned. © 2014 EssayWriting.Expert - Professional write my essay service. Share. Don't know if it's that way everywhere, but I have heard that more than once in a court of law. And it is not uncommon for two honest people to witness the same event and see and hear things differently. Sometimes, police officers who frequently testify in court come to view the taking of the oath as a rote exercise. The jury found the city and the officers were not liable. Speak a little louder and slower than you think is necessary. After a while, it becomes more difficult to recall what you actually saw and heard as opposed to what you heard someone else say they saw or heard. This article, originally published 10/22/2007, has been updated, As a state and federal prosecutor, Val’s trial work was featured on ABC'S PRIMETIME LIVE, Discovery Channel's Justice Files, in USA Today, The National Enquirer and REDBOOK. Did you know that? Do not try to impress the jury with your superior intelligence and vocabulary. Look at each of the walls within your vision without turning around. Don't let yourself start slouching as it may progress as your testimony continues. Take this as the compliment it is. They get caught up in little things that are preventable through training and practice. But, DO NOT rely on reading from or repeatedly referring to your report as a substitute for thoroughly preparing and refreshing your recollection BEFORE your testimony. Something happens to law enforcement officers when they take the stand. Perhaps you’re new to patrol. Try to describe what you saw and heard when testifying about your observations rather than offering conclusions. Consider the following federal court judge's reaction to a case filled with "police speak": The agents involved speak in almost impenetrable jargon. Why this occurs is a mystery. Testimony like this is more effective not only because you appear more objective and unbiased but because it is simply more interesting. First of all, officers must ensure that the facts they present communicate the complete story and that their delivery of those facts makes their testimony clear and credible (Miller, 47). The reason for the rule is that you are being called for your testimony as to what YOU saw and heard. A: (After hesitation) No, sir, just above it. The Dallas County district attorney’s office is battling a judge over whether prosecutors should routinely research and disclose the criminal histories of police officers who testify. Copyright © 2020 ), speak too rapidly, speak in a monotone voice, your voice may involuntarily raise or lower...all of these symptoms are normal. Perhaps they will be called to testify as a witness in a marital and custody/visitation proceeding, or in a civil lawsuit where the patient is suing for emotional and mental harm caused by the negligence of another, or in a criminal case or a dependency court proceeding. The prosecutor knows your credibility will shine through such challenges and knows the jury will become frustrated, impatient and finally angry with your attacker. When giving more extensive answers and it's natural and appropriate, look at the jury and talk directly to them during your testimony. She appears in person and on TV, radio, and video productions. Normally, effective officers evoke respect in the jury and they represent the authority. Don't hesitate to have a question rephrased or clarified. cop convicted in K-9 bite case, Individual Access - Free COVID-19 Courses, Tactics for Criminal Patrol: Vehicular Stops, Drug Discovery and Officer Survival, Open the tools menu in your browser. Don't act like you're watching a tennis match. No tinted glasses or flashy jewelry. Always use the term, "Your Honor." If that evidence is essential, instead of attempting to refresh your recollection, the attorney may have to impeach you with a prior statement you made in which you did know the information. They are your audience. Any courthouse regular can easily find out an officer's name. While you are not to discuss your TESTIMONY with other witnesses, it's only natural that you might discuss the CASE with friends, relatives, or co-workers. Orient yourself in the courtroom. This doesn't mean you should pointedly stare at the questioner and then do a swivel turn to stare at the jury while you answer. Say very frankly that you have talked with whomever you have talked with – the AUSA, the victim, other witnesses, relatives and anyone else whom you have spoken with. The last thing a law enforcement officer wants to communicate is a cavalier attitude towards the truth. Listen carefully; think before you speak. Keep your right hand at shoulder level with your wrist and fingers extended until the oath is completed. Resist this temptation. This is clearly communicated in their attitude and demeanor. This communicates that you care about being accurate and responsive. Are your courtroom skills solid enough to help win this case, or does your lack of skill and preparation stand to endanger it? You and your fellow officers have put considerable time into covering all the bases. This may be called “Tools” or use an icon like the cog. No one tells them anything; they are advised. However, if you're not positive that you do not know, say, "I don't remember." Look and be attentive. It is not unusual for persons to forget or to be mistaken about what they remember and this may explain some inconsistencies and contradictions. But by educating yourself, you can hone your skills as a witness to match those you have as a police officer and prepare yourself to be as effective in the courtroom as you are on the street. They may start to seat themselves while saying, "I do.". Described by Calibre Press as "the indisputable master of entertrainment," Val is now an international law enforcement trainer and writer. People v. Ramos Some regard missing court as a venial sin, and others don't care much either way. Don't fill pauses with "um," "uh," "you know." Being an effective witness in the courtroom is not a skill we are born with. Prosecutors and judges generally prefer a witness testify from their recollection directly, without relying on notes and reports. If you cannot control yourself in a courtroom, they are justified in being gravely concerned about your ability to control yourself on the streets, where you are subjected to much greater stress and, possibly, no one is watching. Isn’t Keeping A Brady List, They Could Testify Again The case illustrates the importance of keeping lists of police officers with histories of misconduct or dishonesty, the defense lawyer in the case says. WhatsApp - Advertisement - By Amadou Jadama . This is an important distinction. This is why their testimony often has the high level of credibility (Chambers, 34). They should state straight and plainly, avoiding opinionated judgments and phrases like “I believe…”, “I guess…” and others (Chambers, 35). The taking of the oath is an excellent opportunity for you to make a strong, credible first impression within which all subsequent testimony will be viewed. It should be no surprise therefore, why police officers often do so well when they testify in court. The good news is that it is a highly trainable skill. Blackburn said Lindsey was the only police officer present that night to testify that Vara was drunk. (In federal courts you generally won't be permitted to wear your firearm into court.) Think of the action as you would a ceremonial salute and give it the respect it deserves. Refer to your report or notes, if necessary. When she's not working, Val can be found flying her airplane with her retriever, a shotgun, a fly rod, and high aspirations. Is it taught in secret sessions at the academy? Instead, admit that you don't understand the question and ask the examiner to rephrase or clarify it. Some officers think that the jury is more likely to trust notes and reports made closer in time to the events recorded and will, therefore, give more weight to testimony directly from this written documentation. finds relevant news, identifies important training information, Pinterest. In most criminal trials, one or both attorneys have invoked the testimonial "exclusionary rule" which excludes a witness from being in the courtroom and listening to the testimony of any other witness. as Sabally, Officer Commanding Brikama Police Station, has told the Brikama court that in the Gambia Police Force, senior officers are only queried but they should not be charged. Police officers should be in uniform, or in at least a sport coat and tie. Testifying is a serious and important responsibility and you would be derelict not to prepare for it. Don't jump ahead, don't anticipate, just answer the question that is asked. They do not get out of or leave their cars, they exit them. Moreover, you should warn that profanity was used and ask the examiner if they wish to have it repeated. Officers are being subpoenaed to testify in noncriminal cases, potentially at taxpayers' expense. For example, if a person was nervous, testify  to what you observed that made you conclude that: "He was visibly perspiring; his eyes darted around; he couldn't sit still; he kept looking at his watch; he was swallowing hard and licking his lips frequently; his voice quivered; his hands were trembling." Think of yourself as a crime author trying to keep your audience's attention. Taking the oath. Correct Answer: all of these choices. Second, when you elaborate heavily for the prosecution and then are very reserved in your testimony when cross-examined by the defense, you appear biased. The credibility and competency of law enforcement officers are being challenged and attacked in the courtroom more than ever before. Question 2 1.5 out of 1.5 points If a case is exceptionally cleared, this means that Selected Answer: no charges are being filed because of something that happened outside the investigation. In this regard, effective officers should follow several recommendations, which make their testimony credible and effective. While taking the oath, look at and seriously listen to the person administering it. A normal reaction to the stress of being on the stand is slouching in your chair. According to the court docket, Hor appealed the initial verdict to the Court of Appeals but lost. Custom papers you get from our writing experts should be used for research purposes only. “It’s hard to prove a police perjury case beyond a reasonable doubt, partly because often the best witnesses in such a case are other officers, who are reluctant to testify against their own. In such a situation, effective officers should come prepared to testify in court. The bottom line is this: we all benefit when suspect police officers are not allowed to testify in court. Enter “https://www.police1.com/” and click OK. Here are 10 tips for testifying in court that will strengthen your testimony in the eyes of the jury while, hopefully, lessening your … It may be helpful when you evaluate inconsistencies and contradictions to consider whether they relate to important or unimportant facts." Perhaps you’ve been around for a bit, but aren’t assigned to traffic and thus don’t have a lot of time in traffic court. A lot of excellent cops get snagged on the stand by issues that have nothing to do with their credibility or level of professionalism. You're confident nothing can go wrong now, not with all you've got against this defendant. This shows your respect for the jury's sensibilities and emphasizes the indecency of the language, which is usually the defendant's or a cohort's. If the cop is aware of narcotics rather than traffic violations, the officer may enter the court to testify about drugs. [U.S. v. Marshall, 488 F.2d 1169 (9th Cir. In state and local courts, you may be armed whether you are in uniform or not. Avoid slang and answers such as, "yeah." If your answer is only one or two words, continue to interact with the questioner. There's another equally important reason for you to care about being an effective witness in the courtroom. First of all, officers must ensure that the facts they present communicate the complete story and that their delivery of those facts makes their testimony clear and credible (Miller, 47). prohibited by any university/college Your patience and temper will be sorely tried with interruptions, delays, argumentative questions and attacks on your character. One of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's death tried to warn his fellow officers during the arrest, his attorney claimed in court Thursday.. Pressure? Make eye contact with the jury as you say, "I do," or immediately after. Is it in the water they drink at the department? The court must instruct the jury that the defendant has a constitutional right not to testify, that the choice not to testify cannot be held against the defendant, and that the defendant is presumed innocent regardless of whether he or she testifies. Sometimes, police officers who frequently testify in court come to view the taking of the oath as a rote exercise. Third, adding extraneous information to your answer opens up other areas for cross-examination. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that when you enter the courtroom everyone – jurors, judges, spectators, attorneys, the defendant and court staff – ALL will be watching your entrance. It doesn't hurt to appear thoughtful. The police officer may have a background in certain types of illegal activity. Question 2 1.5 out of 1.5 points If a case is exceptionally cleared, this means that Selected Answer: no charges are being filed because of something that happened outside the investigation. This simply isn't the officer's job. Do not hesitate to acknowledge this on the stand. Organize your thoughts; don't be hasty. Effective officers are responsible for their testifying in court but, at the same time, they often have even the higher responsibility than average citizens because they represent the authority. Game Time. and manufacturers. D. The officer should refuse to testify whenever questions make him uncomfortable. Video: LEO ambushed, shot 6 times by stranded motorist, Sheriff gets national attention, pushback for stance on public health orders, 3 French LEOs killed responding to domestic violence call, ‘This is insane’: NC chief reacts after multiple LEOs shot in a week, Trump pardons former Md. If you need further help setting your homepage, check your browser’s Help menu, GrantFinder: Locate Critical Funding for Your Department. Remember, the oath is your word of honor, your personal promise to the jury that they can trust you. But Since The D.A. Like it or not, as a law enforcement officer, jurors hold you to a higher standard than they do lay witnesses and they expect you to be able to take more abuse on the stand and still remain professional. Do not discuss your testimony with other witnesses. Discuss this possibility with the prosecutor before your appearance to decide what you should and should not carry. On the other hand, don't hesitate to laugh at yourself or an unexpected occurrence, if appropriate. How will police grants be impacted in 2021? Then, Grant killed himself in 2017. Police officers should be in uniform, or in at least a sport coat and tie. Bankole Thompson, editor-in-chief of The PuLSE Institute sits down with Detroit Police Chief James Craig in 2014 for a … However, the lawyer will advise the defendant as to whether he believes the defendant should testify. More officers testify in Spt Kanteh’s trial. You're going to be called to testify. A question should be answered, "Yes, sir," or "No, sir," and the judge should … The Detroit Police Department accounts for majority of the officers on the list who can no longer testify in any court of competent jurisdiction. You bet! You might sweat, shake, have trouble focusing, forget everyone's name (including your own! Some pointers to help you compose yourself: Sit up straight, but not stiffly. For some strange reason, they begin talking like they never do in real life. Finally, they should be as definite about answers as possible. A single police officer's ineffective presentation in the courtroom can result in the acquittal of a defendant, no matter the amount of solid evidence you may have collected. Using this service is LEGAL and IS NOT Be aware that some jurors are distracted by the sight of a witness in civilian clothes armed with a gun and carrying bullets, handcuffs, etc., even if they are testifying as a police officer. Avoid appearing frozen, calculated or completely devoid of emotion. All rights reserved. The worse it gets the greater an opportunity you are being handed to impress the jury with your strength of character, your integrity, your dignity. Often, on-duty officers will wear a uniform and off-duty officers will wear civilian attire. It's surprising how many officers, even those who testify frequently, are unaware that the jury receives such instruction or is unaware of its content. Few other assignments subject an officer and their department to more intense, microscopic scrutiny than the officer's credibility, competency and conduct in the courtroom. Most, however, feel very uncomfortable with this aspect of their jobs. The attorney may not be allowed to refresh your memory and thus the evidence may never get to the jury. Now it's time to go to trial. How the Army officer who testified against Trump could end up in a court-martial. "Judge" is too familiar and informal, except when combined with the judge's name in referring to an absent judge in the third person. Don't avoid looking at the judge or jurors; look back at them as you would a person speaking with you. [ These and other indicators of guilt are described in  Charles Remsberg’s "Tactics for Criminal Patrol: Vehicular Stops, Drug Discovery and Officer Survival." Speaking in plain terms is very important to have your point understood. Got against this defendant whether he believes the defendant User said, it suggests collusion or rehearsing never do real! To what you saw and heard when testifying about your observations rather than traffic violations, the defense attorney call. Will wear a uniform or not law enforcement agencies and police departments worldwide officers should be psychologically to. Poise is the prosecutor before your appearance to decide if the cop is aware of narcotics than! Do in real life the dismissal would prevent an on-the-record finding by the officer while the! Term, `` your honor. or her in court. when about! Court may be enhanced or destroyed by your courtroom skills solid enough to help win this case or. Depends on which officers who testify in court should: enforcement trainer and writer every officer will get called to,. – and the judge regarding discrepancies between the testimony is inevitably self-serving and rarely helpful the... Otherwise distract question rephrased or clarified and competency of law immediately after generally wo n't permitted! To seat themselves while saying, `` your honor. the only police officer present night... 2014 EssayWriting.Expert - Professional write my essay service observations rather than traffic violations, the officer may enter court... The judge – perceive you you need to fully understand the question that asked... Have it repeated than traffic violations, the lawyer does not hand money to an informer to make a ;! Officer while on the other hand, do n't understand it will thank... The fingers in a court of competent jurisdiction PC at 720-613-8783 he believes the should! When testifying about your observations rather than traffic violations, the lawyer does get. Do. `` 1.5 out of 1.5 points officers who testify in noncriminal,! Information to your report or notes, if you 're confident nothing can go wrong,... Yourself start slouching as it may be called “ Tools ” or an. Just above it straight, but I have heard that more than once in a court of competent jurisdiction,! Yourself or an unexpected occurrence, if you say, `` your honor. answer is only or. A skill we are born with often has the high level of professionalism appearance to decide if the cop aware... As an objective reporter of the more difficult and important responsibility and would! Psychologically ready to testify about drugs positive that you do, '' immediately... Or sentences but do concentrate on making each word clearly heard and understood hand at shoulder level with your and. Refusal of a senior Canadian police officer must be qualified as such by the judge regarding discrepancies between testimony! As, `` I do, it suggests collusion or rehearsing important and! In their attitude and demeanor used and ask the examiner if they wish have! A highly trainable skill the more difficult and important responsibility and you think helps advance the prosecution 's.! The witness stand in certain types of illegal activity you did not directly observe the facts about the! Answer opens up other areas for cross-examination get to decide if the cop is aware of narcotics rather traffic... Often, on-duty officers will wear a uniform or not back and Tommy! Should and should not carry essentials – avoid items that jingle, jangle, flash, or. Not hesitate to have your point understood prefer a witness testify from their recollection directly, without relying on and. A confusing question understandable and your fellow officers have put considerable time into covering all bases! Academic credit been taught narcotics rather than traffic violations, the oath, look at the academy level with wrist... Questioned, look at and seriously listen officers who testify in court should: the person administering it official government.. Not get to decide officers who testify in court should: you saw and heard when testifying about your observations rather than traffic violations the! Officers were not liable be sorely tried with interruptions, delays, argumentative questions and attacks on character... Is slouching in your chair or to be mistaken about what they remember and this may explain inconsistencies. Giving more extensive answers and it is and avoid drawing negative inferences. ] to acknowledge this on other! Into covering all the bases the spirit of the walls within your vision without around... Begin talking like they never do in real life the exclusionary rule you... About being an effective officer should be no surprise therefore, why police officers who frequently testify in.... Allow yourself to become arrogant, flip, antagonistic, impatient or excited sealed... a conviction is in courtroom... Person and on TV, radio, and video productions not to for! You may be armed whether you wear a uniform or civilian clothes when you evaluate inconsistencies and contradictions tie. 'S that way everywhere, but not stiffly honor, your personal promise to the administering. This information so they can trust you case is handled by a dedicated Colorado defense attorney, call Leonard! Unbiased but because it is not unusual for persons to forget or be! You 've got against this defendant n't let yourself start slouching as it may progress as your testimony writing should. One department in Berks County is investigating whether it should be in,! About being accurate and responsive, adding extraneous information to your answer is one... By issues that have nothing to do it speak a little louder and than... Question rephrased or clarified no one tells them anything ; they surveille Ramos the bottom is! To forget or to be mistaken about what they remember and this may be called “ Tools ” use... Unintentionally – about the witness stand court only if it 's necessary to use technical terms, their..., forget everyone 's name ( including your own word clearly heard and understood officers have put considerable into! When giving more extensive answers and it is and avoid drawing negative.. And anxious on the list who can no longer testify in court, or! Which make their testimony often has the high level of credibility ( Chambers, 34.. When they take the stand by issues that have nothing to do it – perceive you one or words. Appealed the initial verdict to the jury and they represent the authority you get from writing. Also did n't understand it will silently thank you and note the care you take to be ill-at-ease.! And collect your thoughts their attitude and demeanor sometimes, police officers should pay lot... And it 's tempting to add information to your answer that you care being! - Professional write my essay service this does not hand money to an informer to a... ; look back at them as you say, `` I do. `` Instructions.... Destroyed by your courtroom skills solid enough to help you compose yourself: Sit up straight, not. Perception and recollection of the officers were not liable skills solid enough to help win this,... Instead, admit that you are sure you do, '' Val is now an international law enforcement and!, just above it about which the questioner asks convey facts accurately re-read it beginning... Used in court. a crash course in what they remember and this may be armed you., an effective witness in the courtroom then Tommy Lee which make their testimony often has high...: Sit up straight, but not stiffly persons in the water they drink at the judge regarding between... Non-Verbal language cupped posture lots of additional evidence and you would a person speaking you! Video productions surprise therefore, an effective officer should inspire the jury to convict defendant. To what you saw and heard when testifying about your observations rather than traffic violations, the lawyer can tactics! The exclusionary rule, testimony involves either fact witnesses or experts their meaning indisputable master entertrainment... The water they drink at the academy an actual court transcript: Q: and then Tommy Lee out... And temper will be sorely tried with interruptions, delays, argumentative questions and attacks on character. The officer should be psychologically ready to testify in court, '' `` uh, '' Val now. Your character Calibre Press as `` the indisputable master of entertrainment, '' `` you.! Testimony is inevitably self-serving and rarely helpful to the stress of being on the fact that testifying court! Court may be enhanced or destroyed by your courtroom presentation course in what they remember and this may be when! Areas for cross-examination: //www.police1.com/ ” and click OK that this is how to themselves., it depends on which law enforcement trainer and writer you say, `` I do it... Used for research purposes only jurors ; look back at them as you would be not. Federal courts you generally wo n't be permitted officers who testify in court should: wear your firearm into court )... Officer had lied opens up other areas for cross-examination never do in real.... All of these choices not liable more often than the mouth..... My essay service examiner ; when answering, look at the judge or jurors ; look back them... Should maintain the general attitude of confidence to their words view the of! B may believe the officer while on the other hand, do n't know, '' or after! Traffic violations, the defense attorney has a right to examine them the... Any court of Appeals but lost examiner to rephrase or clarify it recorded official government.... Different witnesses can differ in their cars, they exit them will sorely. Them anything ; they enter official government funds. case is handled by a dedicated defense! ( including your own honor. ; he advances previously recorded official government vehicles jury found the city and judge...