A few additional rules of testimonial excellence are worthy of emphasis and repetition:
- The expert should keep his eyes on the examining attorney when a question is being asked and then shift his gaze to the trier of fact (court, jury or hearing panel) to respond. Talk to each of the panel members, one at a time. Maintain eye contact and hold focal attention.
- If jurors, the judge, or the hearing panel members are looking out the window, around the room, or at the opposing party while the expert is testifying, the expert should regain control of the situation and bring attention back to the testimony. Move to a chart. Draw a picture. Pause talking long enough to regain attention. In extreme circumstances, ask for a brief recess.
- Potential problems in the courtroom could be: uncomfortably warm or cold temperature, lack of enthusiasm on the expert's part, or confusing or illegible demonstrative aids. Listeners may have given up following the expert's testimony or their side of the case. Alternatively, listeners may have made up their minds to support the expert's testimony and felt they did not need to hear anything more.
In certain respects, testimonial communication is no different than living room communication. Speak clearly and simply. Limit responses to the questions asked. If the expert has done his homework well, he will be confident in the conclusions and positive in the testimony.
Additional Online Courses
- What Every First Responding Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence
- Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes
- DNA – A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook
- Crime Scene and DNA Basics
- Laboratory Safety Programs
- DNA Amplification
- Population Genetics and Statistics
- Non-STR DNA Markers: SNPs, Y-STRs, LCN and mtDNA
- Firearms Examiner Training
- Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers
- What Every Investigator and Evidence Technician Should Know About DNA Evidence
- Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court
- Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert
- Laboratory Orientation and Testing of Body Fluids and Tissues
- DNA Extraction and Quantitation
- STR Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Communication Skills, Report Writing, and Courtroom Testimony
- Español for Law Enforcement
- Amplified DNA Product Separation for Forensic Analysts