1. When asked a question, wait a few seconds for your attorney to object. Common objections are vague, misleading, compound question, facts not in evidence, hearsay. The judge will then make a ruling. If she says sustained wait for your attorney to ask another question or rephrase your question. During this time, think carefully about your answer. If you have to take some time to get your answer right, take your time.
2. When answering a question, try to be simple and direct. Do not continue on with a long narrative unless your attorney says “go on” and the judge permits it. In general, you have to answer all questions directly and concisely. One sentence is good enough. Your attorney will ask another question.
3. During questioning, sit up and look people in the eye. Don’t play with your glasses, pens or paper. Look at the jury and/or judge during your answer. Try to minimize odd movements (removing glasses, checking watch, whatever) because these are often “tells” for lying.
4. If you do not like a question, you still have to answer it truthfully. Don’t deflect. Don’t answer with something else or you will come off as a liar to judge and/or jury. If you’re not sure, just say you’re not sure or that you are approximating something.
5. Do not argue with the questioning authority, esp. the judge. Always refer to the judge as “your honor” (best) or at least “judge”. All attorneys are Mr or Ms or sir or ma’am.
6. Your demeanor at all times should be calm, kind, courteous, compliant. No joking, swearing or goofing around. Be on your best behavior at all times.
NOW FOR THE BAD WITNESS:
1. Dresses inappropriately. Wear a dark suit and white or pastel shirt for court or a dark dress to the knees. Dress like a lawyer. A bad witness shows tattoos, doesn’t comb hair, smells, wrinkled trashy clothing. Cover up.
2. Cries inappropriately. Unless you are the victim of a violent crime or lost a loved one, ask your attorney about crying in court. You don’t get to cry in court because someone smashed up your Range Rover or other luxury item. You don’t get to cry over lost high school girls friends or your mistress.
3. Debates rather than answers the question.
4. Does not answer a question directly.
5. Refuses to tell the truth when asked difficult questions. You might not like the question, but it does not give you the right to deflect or lie in court.
6. Drone on long after everyone has lost interest in you and your answer. Pay attention to the judge and jury. When they start to scowl, cut it off.
7. If the judge is chewing out someone, look down at your shoes. It’s none of your business. If the judge is chewing you out, look at the judge and apologize. Tell the judge you did not mean any offensive behavior. Your attorney can file objections later or argue for you.
You need to be aware that the judge and lawyers are all trained in “tells” for when a witness is lying. If you’re telling the truth you don’t scowl. grimace, make faces and have odd quirk and squirms. Opposing counsel will ask you some obvious uncomfortable questions you will be tempted to lie to. They are looking for tells or signs you are lying. Many times you cannot avoid your own tells–pupils dilating, a twitch, a movement. So jut don’t lie. Trials really should be recorded for this reason, but courts have not entered the 21st century, — yet. But BK was recorded, so go back and watch the video yourself and look for the tells of lying. Everyone has them.
BTW, lie detector test results are not admissible in court. They are junk science. There is no scientific correlation between lying and your palm sweat, respiration rate and heart rate, JSYK