As social beings, we communicate with people regularly. Some of which are our friends. Others are whom we build a professional relationship with. Meanwhile, there are those whom you…continue reading
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What Is a Witness List?
A witness list is a legal document that is submitted to a court for criminal and civil cases. The document contains a complete list of names of the witnesses that either the defense or prosecution plan on presenting in court.
According to an article by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, a court prosecutors survey found that an estimated 77,000 suspects are arrested based on eyewitness account or testimony per year.
Types of Witnesses
In a legal sense, witnesses can fall into different categories. It is important to distinguish the different type of court witnesses and be familiar with each of their functions.
Important Roles of a Witness
A witness plays an important role in the courtroom. Their testimony can have the potential to make or break a case. Whether it is a lay witness or a character witness, these main functions or roles apply to any type of court witness.
How to Create a Witness List
To create a witness list, research is a non-negotiable prerequisite. The list itself is not difficult to make; but the time, effort, and planning that goes into dealing and prepping witnesses can be considerable. To make a witness list in the shortest amount of time possible, the best and most practical option is to use a template. Simply choose a template that suits your needs and follow the step-by-step instruction guide below.
Step 1: Choose a Template
The first step is to choose a ready-made template. Of course, you can always create your own witness list if you prefer to start with a clean slate. As mentioned in previous sections, a witness list is a standard court document. And since it is a standardized document, it needs to adhere to certain guidelines and rules. Particularly, you need to follow a set of guidelines pertaining to format. Fortunately, there are editable and downloadable templates available that you can use as a reference guide or a blueprint for your witness list. There are dozens of professionally designed templates above that you can easily customize to suit your legal needs. Or better yet, you can also use the form provided by the law firm or your local court.
Step 2: Provide a Title and Basic Case Details
After choosing a template, the next step is to input the document title and its case details. The title is typically the local court division and the name of the county, district, or specific location. So whether it is the State of Florida or Michigan, it is important to not just cite the state but also the specific district or area. In addition to the title, you should also include the basic details of the case. Official court documents contain the case number and the name of the plaintiff and the defendant. The latter is the name of the accused while the former is the one filing the complaint. These are usually just the basic details needed, but you can also include other important information as well such as the case type and what party you are representing.
Step 3: Check the Format
After covering all the basic details, you can then proceed to the actual list. First, you need to decide on a format for your witness list. Since it is a list, using a table would help the document appear more presentable and organized. You can easily insert a table using a Word processing application like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Or if you are using a template that already contains a table, it would be much easier for you to simply input the names of the witnesses. Although not necessarily required, numbering the list can also be helpful. Lastly, you can insert additional columns in the table and provide a short description of each witness- identify the type of witness, note which party they are testifying for, and input the date they testified or are scheduled to testify.
Step 4: List Down the Names of the Witnesses
After establishing the format, the last step is to list down all the witnesses you plan on calling to the stand. Whether you are part of the defense or prosecuting team, it is important to select witnesses that can provide relevant and helpful testimony. These may be lay witnesses, expert witnesses, or character witnesses. It is vital to remember that witnesses can help build and fortify your case; but they can also cause your argument to break down if their statements favor the other party’s interests. In your witness list, make sure to provide the complete names, a brief description of each witness, and their contact information. Finally, always make sure to double check the list and review the names before finalizing and submitting it to the court.
What is a witness list?
A witness list is a court document that contains a comprehensive list of names of witnesses for a prosecuting party or a defense team.
What are the 3 types of witnesses?
The three main types of witnesses are lay witnesses (or eye witnesses), character witnesses, and expert witnesses.
What makes a witness uncredible?
An uncredible witness often changes his or her account of a story or is caught lying and sharing falsehoods even when presented with evidence and proof that prove otherwise.
A witness can potentially turn a criminal or civil case around. The importance of witnesses to any legal proceeding cannot be emphasized enough. Browse the wide selection of editable and printable templates above and create your very own witness list today!