Witness Information

It is only with the help of witnesses that cases can be fully presented at trial in the justice system.

During the Trial

Once the trial starts, a witness 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. There may be no objection to the witness remaining in the courtroom after they has given their testimony. It is at the discretion of the Court after consultation with the attorneys whether the witness may be allowed to remain.

If allowed to sit in the courtroom after giving testimony, the witness must not share with other witnesses who have yet to testify what it is that has been said, seen, and heard. If the temptation will be too much, 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 as well as the judge's or jury's opinion.

Help With Testimony

Here are some things that may help with giving testimony in court. The first is knowledge of "hearsay" testimony. Under most circumstances the witness will not be allowed to restate in court what someone else said. If this is attempted, 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 simply nothing. Just sit quietly. The attorneys will discuss the objection and, after the judge has ruled, the question will be asked of the witness again, a different version of the same question will be asked, or a wholly new question will be asked. The important thing to remember is to do nothing but wait for the outcome of the objection. "Overruled" means that the objection fails; while "sustained" means that the objection is valid one under the Rules of Evidence.


There is a small coffee shop and change machine in the lobby of the Ann Arbor downtown courthouse building. There are restaurants nearby. Smoking is not allowed inside any court buildings. There is metered parking in downtown Ann Arbor on the streets and in the Ann/Ashley parking structure.