I don’t know about you but don’t you just hate testifying against your client? Huh? Now, you knew I was going to say “Robert Blake”, the current celebrity accused killer. What, is there something in the water? Anyway, his, I guess, former friend and private investigator, is a witness for the prosecution. I don’t know how this all came about. Did the PI have a falling out with his client, then was compelled to testify because of an admission by Blake that he wanted to do in his wife?
Usually private investigators are testifying in court under much less dramatic conditions (at least for the investigator). Keep in mind when you’re on the stand:
– Tell the truth. That seems obvious. You’re there to answer the questions in an even manner, without displaying prejudice.
– That leads to the next obvious point. Answer the question. Only. Don’t add what you think the opposing party is asking. This is not an opportunity to exhibit all your knowledge.
– Prepare the attorney for whom you’re working. I know, you thought I was going to say that the attorney should prepare you as the witness. That goes without saying. But you should prepare a narrative or resume about yourself in order to establish your credibility with the jury.
One of the puff-’em-up comments I put on my statement of personal facts was that I had previously served in an elected position of the largest investigation organization in the world. The attorney loved it. Choosing your phrasing allows you to frame how the jurors see you.
Are there other thoughts you all have on how to testify?