Maine

Victim Witness Advocates

Assistance and Advocacy for Crime Victims

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Witness Guidelines
 


Resources/Links

US Attorney Victim Witness Program

Maine Department of Corrections

Maine Victim's Compensation Program

Maine Sex Offender Registry

Multicultural Resource Guide: a listing of specialty service providers for Maine's racial, ethnic and language minority communities

WomensLaw.org: features  links to Maine domestic violence resources

 

Witness Guidelines

  1. Always tell the truth.
  2. Dress Appropriately for Court.  It's best not to wear jeans or t-shirts, especially t-shirts with logos or statements printed on them.  Dress as if you were going to a job interview. Wear comfortable clothing so you are not distracted and can focus on what is going on in the Courtroom.  Do not have anything in your mouth while on the witness stand (i.e. gum, candy, tobacco, etc.).
  3. Victims and Witnesses should write down their questions for prosecutors and victim advocates when they think of them..  You may not remember the questions later.
  4. Do not  talk to jurors, even if you see him/her at lunch, during a break or when they are entering or exiting the Courthouse.  Any appearance of jury tampering can result in a mistrial.
  5. Be sure to let the Victim Witness Advocate or someone at the District Attorney’s Office know if you are going on vacation, have a change in your phone number, change in employment, change in primary residence or will be staying with a friend or relative.  The District Attorney’s Office must be able to reach you at all times.
  6. Testifying is a very emotional experience.  Prepare as best you can by talking to the Victim Witness Advocate in advance.  You can ask to tour the courtroom prior to the experience.. 
  7.  Speak clearly and be conscious of your body language.  Ask for clarification if you do not understand what has been asked.  If you don’t remember the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so. 
  8. On days you are scheduled to be in Court, be sure you clear your calendar.  Having other appointments scheduled on the same day as Court only increases your stress level by worrying about time constraints.  You want to eliminate as many stressors as possible.  
  9. It's best not to bring children to Court.  If you need to bring a child, make sure that you have toys, books, and and snacks because it could be a long wait for a child.
  10. At most trials, victims and witnesses are sequestered.  This means, they can not discuss any aspects of the case with other witnesses until a verdict has been reached.
  11. Be prepared to tell what happened, but don't try to memorize  testimony.
  12. Listen carefully to the question and think before answering. If you don't understand the question, ask for it to be repeated or explained.
  13. Do not guess. If you don't understand the question, ask for it to be repeated or explained. Speak loudly and clearly.
  14. Stop speaking if the judge interrupts or if an attorney objects to a question.
  15. Be courteous. Don't argue with an attorney, even if he/she acts discourteously or offensively.
  16. Stay calm.

Last Modified: June 13, 2007