PART A - PRETRIAL RESPONSIBILITIES.
a. In thinking of preparing to testify, remember one fact: The whole
investigation process should be thought of as preparation for testifying.
duties at the scene are to ensure that evidence is properly collected and labeled,
measure the adequacy of the investigation and prepare for testifying. Other prior
and properly recording specifics such as time, weather, etc.
b. Write complete and accurate reports on each incident.
Review these reports
and your investigative notes (which can be used in court) to refresh your memory.
The purpose of your notebook is to "refresh" your memory only.
c. Cooperation with the prosecutor begins before trial. What the MPI knows must
be passed on to the prosecutor. This enables both to review the testimony expected
of the MP at trial.
Conferences with the prosecutor are necessary, ethical, and
Therefore, a testifying MP, when asked on cross-examination if he has
discussed the case with the prosecutor, should say, "Yes." He should say so without
d. Personal appearance. The MP on the witness stand should be clean and neat.
He should reflect concern for the details of his appearance.
The testifying MP
should be cleanly shaved and have a fresh haircut, if male. The MP should leave
firearms, handcuffs, keys, etc., out of the courtroom.
PART B - TESTIFYING.
a. When an MP is called to testify, he should approach the stand in a serious,
businesslike manner. When taking the oath, stand erect with the right hand raised
proudly. Look the court officer giving the oath directly in the eyes.
b. After taking the oath, be seated in the witness chair.
Sit with BOTH feet
flat on the floor. Place your hands in your lap or on the arms of the chair. Do
not fidget or rattle change or keys. Don't make any movements or sounds that will
distract the court's attention from your testimony.
c. Never use your hands or arms to describe the size of an object or the
location of a person in the courtroom. Say in WORDS what needs to be described.
d. Avoid using police lingo.
If you apprehended someone, say so rather than
"pinched." "grabbed," or "collared." Avoid abbreviated terms like "DWI," etc.
PART C - COURTROOM PROCEDURES AND RULES OF EVIDENCE.
a. The more familiar you are with the courtroom procedure and the rules of
evidence, the better witness you will be. Objections made by the defense counsel,
based on rules of evidence, can be confusing. This is especially