Testifying in Court is the most nerve-racking experience for the parties in a case.
The number one phobia among human beings is public speaking, not death, heights, or spiders. Evidence of this can be seen daily. Add to it the pressure of being involved in serious litigation and Courtroom Jitters are to be expected.
I have seen witnesses forget the answer to the most basic of questions due to stage fright. I had a witness forget her address, the one where she had lived for years. I’ve seen a deposition transcript where the husband going through a divorce lost his cool when asked his name. To him the question was insulting because they had been married for years. The anxiety of being in that situation got the better of him.
A colleague told me she had a witness freeze while being questioned about adultery and then lie about the affair even though he knew the other side had “it” on video! After the lie the attorney requested a short recess. The client said he panicked and just said,”NO!” ( while Nancy Reagan would have been proud, it was perjury). After the recess the opposing attorney asked to play the video to impeach the witness. The witness admitted the affair, but it was too late. The court ordered the video be played.
Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Litigation Attorney in Mississippi. Stage fright happens and is real. The best advice is avoid Court. The second best advice is prepare, prepare, prepare.
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