There are some cases that can benefit from bringing in forensic psychiatry expert witnesses. It may be to determine the sanity of a client or determine motive of a defendant. If you're an attorney and plan on working with this professional, these preparation tips can help.
Have a Plan During Direct Examination
A key time in any case where a forensic psychiatry expert witness is involved is direct examination. This is when you'll be asking the expert witnesses about the case in discussion. So that this direct examination goes smoothly and your expert witnesses says the right things, you want to have a plan in place.
You want to have a general direction you take the expert witness in. This will enable the judge and jury to follow along better and prevent there from being confusion. Having a concrete plan also lets you get the most helpful answers out of the forensic psychiatry expert witness.
Review Possible Cross-Examination Questions
The time when the opposing attorney asks your expert witness questions is referred to as cross-examination. It's just as important as direct examination and to prepare for it strategically, you'll want to cover possible questions the opposing attorney will bring up.
The questions asked will depend on the subject matter the trial involves. Try going through as many possible scenarios as you can. This will get the forensic psychiatry expert witness comfortable and enable them to voice their expert opinions as best they can. Ample preparation also helps the expert witness remain calm, even if there are questions you weren't able to cover before trial.
Keep Emotions Out of the Equation
In terms of how your forensic psychiatry expert witness should behave, the number one rule is keeping emotions out of the equation. Your witness needs to remain professional and objective the entire time they're giving their opinions and statements.
If they weren't like this, then the other attorney could say that your witness has a vested interest in the case and that's not ideal because then their statements could be thrown out. Covering the material that will come up in court is a great way to get your expert witness used to responding in an objective, non-emotional manner.
Forensic psychiatrists can be extremely valuable to cases that involve mental health. If you plan on working with one, understanding how to get the most out of this resource is important before trial ever begins.