Impeachment’s are a great tool at destroying credibility. While it’s a great tool at destroying credibility, it can destroy your own teams credibility if your witness is impeached and was caught lying at the stand.
Impeachment are unavoidable as all humans make mistakes. Here are a few simple tips to avoid becoming impeached while on the witness stand.
1. Know your witness statement
The number one step to avoiding impeachment is knowing your witness statement by heart. You will need to know and understand everything about your witness. This will require reading and dissecting the witness statement so you can capture every detail possible.
You may say this is common sense but most if not all Mock Trial witness statements were created by the organization running the Mock Trial program. The witness statement didn’t come from your own words and it’s your responsibility to fully understand what it’s trying to convey about the character you’re playing.
2. Don’t lie. Be careful when you twist the facts.
The number one thing about being a witness is that you should avoid lying. Even if the truth will ruin your character, it’s not worth it to lie. The best thing to do – with caution – is to twist the facts so that you’re telling the truth but diminishing the reality of what happened. However, when twisting the facts, make sure you don’t purposely lie or that will hurt you.
3. Play it off
If you do end up getting impeached – what’s done is done. The best thing to do in this situation is to say “I’m sorry, I was confused by the question” or “I’m sorry, I mixed up the events of what happened” and then restate what actually happened. This will help cool off the situation and restore a tiny bit of credibility to your witness.
If you are playing against a good lawyer who followed our Impeachment guide, then you could be saved. Once you hear the lawyer say something along the lines of “Is it your sworn testimony today that …,” then it is your sign that you’re about to be impeached and you could wiggle your way out of that situation by saying “Oh no, I’m sorry, I mixed up the events and meant to say …”
Impeachment is probably one of my favorite aspect of Mock Trial and always gives me a good laugh. Here are a few of my favorite impeachment stories:
- I’ve once watched a trial where the lawyer followed the Impeachment guide and the witness corrected themselves once they figured they were almost going to become impeached. However, the lawyer still went through the entire impeachment process and impeached the witness. If this happens, people will notice and the lawyer will lose points for not noticing that you’ve corrected yourself. I noticed what happened and was wondering why the lawyer was still going through the impeachment process.
- I watched a trial in a tournament where the one team would have their witnesses lie on everything so that their witnesses could look better. Thankfully, the other team knew they were lying and impeached them on every answer they provided. We ended up going through 8 impeachments before the Judge in the trial said “enough” and made the witness get off the stand.
The morale of the story is: just don’t be messy.