Testifying in a CPS court

Tips for Attorneys and Clients in Preserving the Record

These are comments taken from a CPS judge. Generally good advise when you are a witness testifying in a court proceeding, too.

1.  Speak loud and speak one at a time (Trying to decipher two people talking over one another may affect the quality of the record.  If you can’t hear it, neither can the Court Reporter.)

2.  Give the Court Reporter a glossary containing technical terms, proper names, witness names, acronyms, etc.

3.  Spell out proper names; clarify acronyms.  (The letters m and n, b and d, f and s, p and t are easily confused.  You can eliminate a potential misunderstanding by using a name to clarify, such a M as in Mary, N as in Nancy, etc.

4.  A conjunction is a joiner, a word that connects (conjoins) parts of a sentence.  And, but, or, yet, for, nor and so are conjunctions.  These little words make a big difference in the meaning of a sentence so speak clearly and accurately.

5.  Number stated without dollars, cents or percentages could be a cause for confusion.  (For example:  thirty two oh four could be $32.04 or 3,204 or 30,204.  Remember, the record will only be as clear and concise as you make it.)

6.  Remember, the reporter is a neutral party in the courtroom.

7.  Take your time – Speak clearly and see to it that the witness follows this rule also.  (If the witness is foreign and you cannot understand a word, phrase or sentence stated by the witness, the reporter probably cannot either.  Though you may gather the gist of it, it is the duty of the reporter to get it verbatim for a clean record.)

8.  If requesting the Court Reporter to mark an exhibit, please give him/her time to mark such exhibit before resuming questioning.