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  • Testifying in court

    a couple of questions:

    when you testify do you wear a suit and tie or do you wear your uniform

    also a cousin of mine who is a cop states he hates being on standby which he tends to get a lot of for his DWI arrest. He told me he has had cases dismissed because he will get a call stating he needs to be up at the court within like 2 hours and if it is his off day he either just barely makes it or sometimes can't get there depending on the situation

  • #2
    First look to your department policy. If there is none, consider that testifying in uniform usually makes a greater impact on the jurors.

    As a side note, my agency has a policy of not accepting standby subpoenas. Either you want us in court (ensuring a minimum of four hours overtime) or you don't.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
      First look to your department policy. If there is none, consider that testifying in uniform usually makes a greater impact on the jurors.

      As a side note, my agency has a policy of not accepting standby subpoenas. Either you want us in court (ensuring a minimum of four hours overtime) or you don't.
      Thats a good policy to have my cousin was telling me last week on tuesday he gets a call from a ADA if he could be available either thursday evening or friday morning. The ADA asked for his number and said he would give him a call. Those 2 days happened to be my cousin's off day. He ended up getting a call friday morning but was at the gym and didnt get the message until like an hour later. By the time he called the ADA told him it was too late

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      • #4
        No such thing as a stand by subpoena around here. You get a subpoena and you show up. By law you have to be personally served by someone at least 24 hrs in advance

        99.9% of the officers I see in the court room are in uniform. It may be a "soft" uniform (khakis and a PD polo) but it almost always has a PD identifyer . Occasionally a detective MIGHT be in a suit with a badge showing
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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        • #5
          I am a Detective and have found that juries expect Detectives to wear plain clothes. When I was an officer I wore my uniform.
          Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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          • #6
            Depends. District court you CAN wear your uniform, however, in County Court, we are specifically prohibited from wearing it. Apparently it can be interpreted as influential to juries. When we go to County Court, a suit and tie is required.

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            • #7
              Officers wear the uniform of the day. There is no such thing as a stand-by subpoena.

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              • #8
                If you are patrol, you should be wearing your uniform unless policy prohibits it. If you are a detective or plain clothes detail, you should be dressed appropriately (shirt and tie, suit, dept. polo & khakis, etc.).

                Fortunately for me, we have no set uniform, so I'm either wearing a suit (if I have no other assignments for the day and have been given adequate notice or it's a high profile case) or I wear whatever is appropriate for what I'm doing that day. One day a slacking prosecutor called me and frantically requested that I testify later that day. Happens that I was on my way to an undercover assignment which should have been done before court, but not enough time for me to change clothes and get cleaned up. I showed up in court looking like the defendant the day he was arrested. Fortunately, my testimony was brief, but critical to the case. Defendant was found guilty and is now serving a lengthy prison sentence.

                Ask your FTO or supervisor what you should wear. If you don't want to ask them, ask a colleague or the prosecutor. You may get a funny look or a rough answer, but you should find out ahead of time so you don't look stupid showing up in court. You want to look as professional as possible as your credibility with the judge and jury may depend on it. Juries can be funny. They may see you dressed inappropriately then assume that you did your job the same way on the day in question. Don't give them anything to distract them from the facts of the case.

                Good luck!
                Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

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                • #9
                  My Agency prescribes uniform of the day for court. No such thing as a "standby subpeopna". You're either subpeonaed or you're not.

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                  • #10
                    I stopped arresting people... Solves the whole "going to court" issue altogether.

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                    • #11
                      Suit and tie at my agency. We don't have stand by subpoenas.

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                      • #12
                        I was always told wear the uniform. Also in one of the counties I patrol in we get something called Notice of Trial. Basically the county gives you a link and a username to sign in to online and they give you a date of when a trial is supposed to occur. If they need you they call you. There's no excuse to not show up since you already know the date and time of the trial.

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                        • #13
                          Adidas tracksuit and gold chains...

                          OP, are you even a cop???
                          Now go home and get your shine box!

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                          • #14
                            If I'm on duty, then I go to court in uniform. If it's for a jury trial, I change into long sleeves and tie with wool pants, but wear Class C for regular appearances. It is never a problem with the judges and attorneys, and is normal practice in our county. If I'm off duty, it's suit and tie.

                            We don't have standby subpoenas anymore.
                            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                            • #15
                              For uniformed officers our policy is that you wear the uniform, for investigations it is plain clothes.
                              In God We Trust
                              Everyone else we run local and NCIC

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