Kalamaoo County

WITNESS INFORMATION

Thank you for giving your time to testify. It is only with the help of witnesses that cases can be presented fully. You are giving support through your words and your presence.

You might be excluded from the courtroom pursuant to a request of the attorneys and agreement of the judge. This may bother witnesses who would much rather attend the entire trial. It may be that there will be no objection to your remaining in the courtroom after you have given your testimony. It is in the discretion of the court after consultation with the attorneys whether you may be allowed to remain. If you are allowed to sit in the courtroom after you have given your testimony, you must not share with witnesses who have yet to testify what it is you have said, seen and heard. If you think the temptation will be too much for you, do not stay in the courtroom. All witnesses will be allowed in the courtroom at the conclusion of the testimony so that they may hear final arguments and the judge's or jury's opinion.

Here are some things that may help with your testimony in court. The first is knowledge of "hearsay" testimony. Under most circumstances you will not be allowed to restate in court what someone else said. If you attempt to do so, it is likely that an attorney will raise an objection. At that point, both attorneys will discuss whether such testimony should be allowed, and the judge will rule on the objection.

Another matter that frequently causes some confusion is what the witness should do when an objection is made. The answer is simple. Nothing. Simply sit quietly. The attorneys will discuss the objection and, after the judge has ruled, the question will be asked to you again, or a different version of the same question will be asked, or a wholly new question will be asked. The important thing to remember is just that you must do nothing but await the outcome of the objection. "Overruled" means that the objection fails; while "sustained" means that the objection is a good one under the rules of evidence.

There are food vending machines in the public area of the courthouse, however, there is no food or drinks allowed in the courtrooms. There are restaurants nearby. Smoking is not allowed inside the courthouse. There is public parking available at no cost.

Thank you for your patience and assistance.