Ben Matlock and Perry Mason were always able to berate the real killer on the witness stand until he confessed or it just so happened that the real killer attended the Trial, sitting in the audience, just to watch, only to see himself implicated and arrested before he could leave.
However, real Court is not like TV Court. Lawyers for the most part do not have surprise witnesses that no one knows of and the real killer does not attend and watch from the gallery. Though Court is usually open to the public, rarely does anyone other than a family member attend.
Lawyers are usually held to a reasonable standard of Courtroom Etiquette and witnesses and parties are even more-so.
Courtroom Etiquette includes;
- Dressing appropriately. (conservative or church attire is acceptable, shorts, sleeveless tops, & hats are not)
- Acting appropriately. (No guffawing, exclaiming, gum chewing, loud talking in the audience)
- Waiting for the Question to be asked before Answering. (All is being typed by the Court reporter)
- Answering “Yes” or “No,” and then explaining if necessary.
- Not Shouting or Yelling.
- Not Cursing.
- Not Lying.
- Not Faking Emotion.
Court is emotional. You can have and show emotion, but the Court is going to judge the level of emotion shown based on the issues before it and will take into account stage fright. The Judge also knows, more often than not, when you are faking it.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Litigation Attorney in Mississippi; know when to hold, when to fold them, know when to walk away and when to run…