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Law Enforcement Officer's Guide to Testifying in Court

NCJ Number
James M. Vukelic
Date Published
175 pages
The purpose of this book is to help law enforcement personnel testify more effectively in court.
Most law enforcement officers will eventually have the experience of testifying in court. This book was written to help take the mystery out of court proceedings for officers. It offers the reader concrete advice on how to be a persuasive witness. The book exposes tricks and traps used by courtroom lawyers, and suggests ways of dealing with them. Numerous examples are used to demonstrate key points, many of them taken from real trials. The book is broken down into six chapters. Chapter 1 deals with what officers need to understand before a trial begins. It is broken down into seven sections that cover areas such how the legal process works, knowing the setting by visiting the courtroom and understanding the chronology of the trial, and techniques to reduce anxiety. Chapter 2 covers what officers need to know at trial. It has five sections that cover nonverbal persuasion, being aware of other nonverbal factors that affect credibility, making effective use of visual aids and demonstrations, some do’s and don’ts at trial, and how to be verbally persuasive on the witness stand. Chapter 3 is broken down into 10 sections that tell the officer how to survive direct and cross-examination. Chapter 4 has three sections that deal with expert testimony: how to give opinion testimony, qualifying the witness as an expert, and when not to give an opinion. Chapter 5, broken down into three sections, provides information on what the officer needs to know about depositions. Finally, chapter 6 provides information to officers on how to improve as a witness: ask for constructive criticism and don’t lose faith. Glossary, 2 appendices, and notes