Courtroom Testimony For Officers [2023]

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Course Author(s)

Lyla Zeidan J.D.

Course Summary

Law enforcement officers work long hours on investigations. When a case they worked on goes to trial, they want to win. They’re confident that nothing can go wrong. They show up, answer questions, and expect a conviction to follow. The problem is that officers are rarely given adequate guidance on how they should prepare to testify.

Testifying in court may be one of the more difficult and important tasks officers face in their careers.

When you're testifying in court, the jury, the judge, the prosecutor, the defense, the public, the media – all eyes are on you! Your reputation and that of your department may be enhanced or destroyed by your courtroom presentation.

A lot of excellent cops get tripped up in little things that are preventable through training and practice. A single police officer's ineffective presentation in the courtroom can result in the acquittal of a defendant, no matter the amount of solid evidence you may have collected.

After this training you will be able to answer the following questions with confidence and assurance: Are your courtroom skills solid enough to help win this case, or does your lack of training and preparation stand to endanger it? Have you mentally prepared yourself to testify effectively?

The learning objectives for this course are:

  • Understand the mental and emotional factors involved
  • Learn the training needed to testify effectively
  • Learn the best ways to prepare for testifying
  • Understand the expectations when testifying on direct examination
  • Understand the expectations when testifying on cross examination
  • Review the obligation to be truthful and disclose evidence
  • Review the crucial mistakes officers make when testifying
  • Learn the best practices when testifying in general

This course is designed to help you train and prepare for your courtroom testimony. 


Course Syllabus

  • Module 1 - Courtroom Testimony

    • Introduction by Lyla Zeidan, Esquire
    • Mental and Emotional Factors
    • Steps to Training
    • How to Dress
    • Expectations When Testifying on Direct Examination
    • How to Tell a Story
    • The Relationship to Direct Examination
    • Attitude and Demeanor
    • Assessment
  • Module 2 - Courtroom Testimony

    • Crucial Mistakes Officers Make When Testifying
    • Knowing There Will Be Attacks on Your Character
    • Best Practices When Testifying in General
    • Be Truthful and Sincere
    • Answer With Facts, Not Opinions or Conclusions
    • Do Not Discuss Your Testimony With Other Witnesses
    • Testimony Example Part 1
    • Testimony Example Part 2
    • Testimony Example Part 3
    • Assessment