Criminal Justice


WhatNOT to Do When Testifying

  1. You should NEVER commit perjury while testifying. Perjury is knowingly telling a lie under oath about something that is important to the case.

Ifa PLEO commits perjury while testifying, the officer may lose his orher job, he or she may face incarceration and a fine, the defendantmay be acquitted, and it reflects negatively on the professionalismand integrity of law enforcement.

  1. You should never forget to prepare the necessary documentation

Allreports, documents about the case need to be prepared beforehandsince without some documents such as the case report the case is asgood as lost.

  1. You should never be late for a court session

Turningup late for a court session is a serious mistake that a PLEO shouldavoid by means since it delays trials and lowers their credibility.Lateness can also cause postponement or loss of a case.

  1. You should never miss a court proceeding

Afterreceiving a subpoena, a PLEO should take keen notice of the date,time and venue of the case. If you cannot make it to the caseproceedings, prior notification to the prosecutor is necessary toavoid contempt of court.

  1. You should never forget to carry your documents and reports to court

Evenwhen you well versed with the details of the case, it is alwaysnecessary to carry the documents and reports to the court. Apart frommaking references once in a while, the documents can also berequested by the judge, jury or attorney for the sake of theirdeliberation.

  1. You should never dress indecently or casually while testifying. The mode of dressing should always be neat and conservative.

One’sappearance and dressing are a direct reflection of a PLEO.Consequently, a PLEO should not dress in a manner that is likely todistract the parties present in the hearing from concentrating on thetestimony they have to offer such as sunglasses and flashy jewelry.

  1. You should never make any form of jokes while testifying. You should always be serious in the courtroom.

Courtproceedings are a serious matter and as a result, a PLEO should notmake fun while another person’s liberty and future are at stake(Garland, 2015). This applies in the courtroom during proceedings,and even hallways chit chats.

  1. You should never lose your temper even when you feel provoked or under too much pressure

Duringcross-examination, lawyers may try to provoke you into losing yourtemper so that you can give incorrect or inconsistent information. Insuch cases, a PLEO must keep their calm and answer the questionswithout arguing with the attorneys.

  1. You should not answer the questions that you have not been asked or give more information than is necessary.

APLEO should answer all the questions asked in a direct manner withoutvolunteering extra information. If you do not comprehend the query,kindly ask for clarification before answering it.

  1. You should never give your opinion in an attempt to falsify any evidence before the court.

Givingpersonal views on a matter before the court is unprofessional and aPLEO should avoid this at all time to uphold their credibility beforethe court.

  1. You should never make public comments regarding a verdict that has been delivered by a court.

APLEO should respect the verdict made by the judge or jury and refrainfrom criticizing them in public under any circumstances.

  1. You should never lose your concentration as long as the court proceedings are in motion.

APLEO should be keen and attentive at all times as the hearingsproceed so that they do not miss out on anything that happens in thecourtroom (Garland, 2015).

  1. You should never give rushed or vague responses that can be misinterpreted as you testify.

Beforeanswering any question, you should take your time to think about yourresponse. When responding, speak loudly and clearly so that allparties can hear you responses.

  1. You should never use estimates of time and distance and when you do, make it clear that you are estimating.

Questionsabout time and distance need accurate answers. If a PLEO cannotprovide the exact numbers, they should explain that they areestimating to avoid lying under oath.

  1. You should never lose yourself in attempting to please the jury.

APLEO should avoid losing their real personalities and using legal orpolice lingo in a bid to please the jury or appear to be good intheir work.

  1. You should never speak to anyone outside the court about the case

Unlessgiven in a deposition, a PLEO should avoid speaking to anyone outsidethe case they are working on. When forced to, you should report tothe prosecutor promptly.

  1. You should not have other witnesses in the court while one witness is giving their testimony.

Typically,all other witnesses should leave the courtroom when others are givingtheir testimony to ensure their testimony is not manipulated by thepresence of the others.

  1. You should never go to court without studying and understanding all aspects of the case at hand.

APLEO should be familiar with all depositions, statements, and reportsthey will use in the case to avoid situations where they are notfamiliar with the facts to the case.

  1. You should not read word to word while testifying.

Adequatepreparation for the case as mentioned earlier will enable the PLEO todeliver key facts about the case without constantly referring totheir documents.

  1. You should never refer to the previous criminal records of the accused unless you are asked.

Bymaking such references, a PLEO can appear to be premeditatedmalicious or overreaching in their bid to get the accused convicted.

  1. You should never offer inadmissible evidence or exhibits to the court

Bringinginadmissible evidence or asking inappropriate questions in thecourtroom is a criminal justice malpractice that a PLEO should alwaysavoid so as to protect their credibility.


Garland,N. M. (2015). Criminalevidence.New York: McGraw-Hill.