Advice on Giving Testimony
When you are called to testify, you will be asked to answer questions under oath. You will be asked to raise your right hand and swear (or affirm) to tell the truth. You should reply in a loud, clear voice, "Yes" or "I do". You may then take the witness stand. The assistant prosecutor will be the first to ask you questions and then the defense attorney (except at the Grand Jury phase) will follow with additional questions. The judge or the jury will need to hear the facts as you know them. The single most important item of advice is to TELL THE TRUTH! Witnesses are generally not allowed in the courtroom while other witnesses testify. You will be asked to remain outside the courtroom until you are called upon to testify. The court / jury wants to hear the facts as you know them to be. Your recollection of the facts might be affected if you heard others testify about the same events.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
- TELL THE TRUTH
- DRESS NEATLY
- BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU ANSWER
- STICK TO THE FACTS
- ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS DIRECTLY
- RELAX AND SPEAK IN A LOUD VOICE
- BE PREPARED TO WAIT
The Preliminary Hearing
The defendant, his attorney, the prosecutor, the police officers, and the witnesses are present at this hearing. The burden of proof is on the prosecuting attorney to show that a crime has been committed and that the defendant probably committed it. If there is sufficient evidence or probable cause, the case is bound over to the Grand Jury.
Preliminary hearings are held in Municipal or District Courts. There are eight possible locations so please note on your subpoena where you will need to appear. It may be at any of the following:
Dayton Municipal Court; Montgomery County Municipal Court Western Division; Montgomery County Municipal Court Eastern Division; Miamisburg Municipal Court; Oakwood Municipal Court; Kettering Municipal Court; Vandalia Municipal Court.
The Grand Jury
The Grand Jury consists of nine to twelve jurors. During witness testimony, only the jurors and the county prosecutor are present in the room. Since the DEFENDANT and the defense attorney are NOT PRESENT, there is no cross-examination. The prosecutor will ask questions to present the case and after all of the testimony and evidence is presented, the Grand Jurors vote to determine if the defendant is to be indicted (formally charged). If the defendant is indicted, the Grand Jury hands down what is called a Ture Bill and the case proceeds through the system. If, however, the Grand Jury does not find that they have enough evidence to return an indictment, they hand down a No Ture Bill and the case ends there unless additional testimony or evidence can be presented at another time.
The assistant prosecutor presents the case for the State of Ohio and has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused did commit the crime as charged. As a witness, you are an important part of this effort. (Please note the Advice on Giving Testimony section at the top of this page.)
The defendant will have chosen if he / she wants the case to be heard by a jury (twelve people), the Court (one judge) or a three-judge panel. If the case will be heard by a jury, all twelve jurors must agree on the verdict. The verdict is a determination of whether or not the State's case has been proven.
You are entitled to $6.00 for each half day and $12.00 for each full day that you appear to testify. There is also a mileage allowance of 10 cents per mile if you live outside the Montgomery County area. After your appearance is over, have the prosecutor, bailiff, or the judge sign your subpoena and fill in the length of time your have been present for testimony. You should receive a check in the mail in approximately 3-5 weeks.
If the defendant is found guilty, the Ohio law requires the judge to set the punishment. As a victim of the offense, you may provide information for the judge to consider through a Victim Impact Statement which is part of the Pre-Sentence Investigative report completed by the Adult Probation Department.