When testifying in court; the eyes of the jury, the judge, the prosecutor, the defense, and the public– are on you! Your reputation and that of your department may be enhanced or destroyed by your courtroom presentation.A single ineffective presentation in the courtroom can result in the acquittal of a defendant, no matter the amount of solid evidence you may have collected.
This course is approved for continuing education credits by Missouri POST, American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI) and the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute (ACFEI)
When testifying in court; the eyes of the jury, the judge, the prosecutor, the defense, and the public– are on you! Your reputation and that of your department may be enhanced or destroyed by your courtroom presentation. A single ineffective presentation in the courtroom can result in the acquittal of a defendant, no matter the amount of solid evidence you may have collected.
There’s another equally important reason for you to care about being an effective witness in the courtroom. If you aren’t, all the work that you and your fellow investigators did on the case, all that the victims and their families endured, all that other witnesses may have done over the many months and sometimes years it takes for a criminal case to go to trial–will have accomplished nothing more than a containment arrest. A single ineffective presentation in the courtroom can result in the acquittal of a defendant, no matter the amount of solid evidence you may have collected.
This online video training course will teach the participant that there are two classifications of witnesses; fact witnesses and expert witnesses. Each one is vitally important in criminal and civil cases. Further, it is possible to be seen and used as both during a trial.
Investigators must properly prepare for courtroom testimony, and specific areas of preparations must be made. The investigator or police office should review the case several times before the trail, and should meet with the prosecutor and review their testimony. It is also recommended to mentally rehearse the case, going over the facts out loud.
It is also important to have well-organized, standardized, complete, and readable style reports for your final summary that you have available during testimony. It may be necessary to supplement standard forms and checklists with your own words to help explain potentially confusing situations.
While entering the courtroom and upon taking your seat in the witness box, it is important to be aware of what your body language is saying. Improper posture or a cocky stance can affect your demeanor and how you are perceived. Learning to sit up straight in the chair close to the mic but without leaning forward, keeping your hands inside the box when not using for demonstration and never sit with crossed arms or legs. Further, awareness of facial expressions is important. Do not look confused, bored, or upset with questions you are asked.
Finally, to be a credible witness the officer should keep a few things in mind.
- Dress professionally and appropriately
- Enter the courtroom with confidence and take the oath with sincerity
- Answer the question asked and never add to your answer
- Be sincere with your answers
- Remain calm and respectful in every situation
This is an online video training and is designed to be interactive with students by random quizzes and final exam. Student login time is tracked per student to verify time spent in the course if needed. Testing cannot be done until videos are watched. Each video has a unique symbol or picture that will appear prominently during the video and is part of the test questions, this will insure the video has been watched. Certificates will only be available for print after success completion of the final exam and the course evaluation.
Each certificate will indicate that it was an online training and will note the post control number and the CLEE hours given.
At the end of this 1 hour training course, the student will be able to:
- List the 2 classifications of a witness
- Explain the steps necessary for testimony preparations
- List the two-step method to help reduce fear prior to testifying
- Explain how your body language effects your demeanor
- Explain how to actively listen and answer direct questions
- List the five areas that directly affect your appearance as credible