Witness Preparation



Trials are not trifles, testifying is no trivial event. But you’d be surprised how often witnesses are not fully prepared for their experience on the stand. When you engage Inter-State Investigative Services to assist your defense team at trial, one benefit you’ll find is our investigators’ abilities to prepare witnesses for their experience testifying. Because we have seen cocky Alpha Males become shy wallflowers and loquacious experts become tongue-tied prevaricators when not prepared for examination in the hot seat, we take pride in the thorough preparation of any witness for the defense.


Prosecutors are a crafty lot, but with the right preparation, defense witnesses can be ready to adeptly handle the tricks the state’s attorney may try to spring on them. Without divulging our trade secrets, one technique we employ is to review the range of specific questions prosecutors may ask as well as the actual question defense counsel will ask. We also give them the bigger picture and context for what their testimony is aimed to accomplish.

With over twenty years of experience working with defense attorneys in Arizona, we are also able to prepare witnesses for the temperament and proclivities of many of the prosecutors in our jurisdictions. Preparation and familiarization are the keys. And, above all else, we drive home the fact that the witness must tell the truth. This may seem obvious, but given the infinite ways prosecutors may try to trip up a witness, when their testimony is fundamentally grounded in the truth, they tend to be much more comfortable even under the most aggressive venom. Also, by being grounded in the truth, we avoid any unethical witness coaching.


Our experience has shown that the more prepared witnesses are for the questions, word for word, that they will be asked, and the exact way they will truthfully answer, the better they handle testifying. It’s not an easy experience, nor is it especially enjoyable. But, by practicing, listening to every word they say, and providing specific feedback on those exact words, witnesses are much more prepared for the varieties of ways the same question can be framed.

Another part of effective testimony is a confident demeanor. So, we work with witnesses to help them understand how their delivery of testimony can be perceived. By examining body language, inflection points, and physical mannerisms, we can help witnesses have a greater appreciation of how their delivery can affect how people may judge the truthfulness of their testimony.

Witnesses can make or break a defendant’s case. Even when they are telling the truth, they can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. By effectively preparing a witness for the experience that awaits, they can be more confident in how they deliver their testimony. For assistance with preparing witnesses for your criminal trial, please click on the “Submit a Request” button at the top of the page, or call IISAZ now at (520) 882-2723 or (602) 358-7759.