Witness Management
Program

In 1986, the State Attorney’s Office, in cooperation with Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, established a program to assist witnesses of crime through the criminal justice system. When individuals become witnesses of crime, it is understandable that some apprehension with regards to their involvement and safety will occur. It is the mission of the Witness Management Program to ensure services and information are provided to witnesses in a timely and accessible manner. Each witness will have an assigned witness manager to assist with his or her court appearance.

What is a Witness Manager?

A witness manager advises the victim or witness of court dates and court appearances. They will assist you with providing letters to your employers about your obligation to appear in court. They will also assist you with obtaining your mileage and witness fee. The Witness Management Program can provide assistance in transportation needs and will make travel arrangements for out-of-state victims and witnesses.

Your Duties as a Witness

You are a witness because you have seen, heard, or know something about a crime. Even though you might think what you know, saw, or heard is insignificant, it may be important to the case. If you are the victim of a violent crime or owner of property stolen, damaged or misused, the case cannot be prosecuted unless you testify.

To prevent delay and possible dismissal of a case, witnesses must be present when asked to appear. Therefore, we must be able to contact you, so it is important that you keep our office informed of your address, telephone numbers, email addresses and any plans you may have for vacation or other travel out of the area.

Services for Witnesses include

  • Assistance in making court appearances
  • Orientation to the Criminal Justice System
  • Witness Reception Areas
  • Notification about the status of the case
  • Cooperation with schools and employers in verifying the court appearance of a witness
  • Notification of court appearances
  • Notification of scheduling changes
  • Availability of services for special needs of victims and witnesses
  • Interpretation of the witness subpoena

What is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order requiring a witness to appear to give testimony. The date, time, and location of where you are to appear will be on the subpoena.

Witness Reimbursement

You, as a witness, are entitled to a witness fee of $5.00 per day for each day you appear as required, and also a mileage payment for each mile necessarily traveled going to and from court by the nearest practical route.

If you are required to appear in a county other than your county of residence and you reside more than fifty miles away, you are entitled to per diem and travel expenses at the same rate as state employees under Section 112.061, Florida Statutes, in lieu of any other witness fee. Your Witness Manager will explain to you how you will receive your witness reimbursement.

Below are helpful suggestions to prepare you for your court appearance.

What You Should Know

1.

Before you testify, try to picture the scene, the objects, the distances, etc. so you can recall more accurately when you are asked.

2.

A neat appearance and proper dress are important.

3.

Avoid distracting mannerisms. While taking the oath, stand upright, pay attention, and speak clearly.

4.

Don’t try to memorize what you are going to say.

5.

Be serious in the courtroom.

6.

Speak clearly and loudly enough so jury can hear you.

7.

Listen carefully to the questions. Don’t give snap answers. Understand the question or ask to have it repeated.

8.

Explain your answer, if necessary. If a question can’t be answered truthfully with a "yes" or "no," you have the right to explain your answer.

9.

Answer only the question asked. Do not volunteer information not asked for.

10.

If your answer was not correctly stated, correct it immediately.

11.

Don’t give your conclusions or opinions unless specifically asked. Stick with the facts!

12.

Unless certain, don’t say, "Nothing else happened." Instead say, "That’s all I recall."

13.

Always be courteous, even if the lawyer questioning you isn’t.

14.

You are sworn to tell the truth. Tell it!

15.

Stop instantly when the judge interrupts you, or when an attorney objects to a question.

16.

Give positive, definitive answers when possible. Avoid saying, "I think," or "In my opinion." Also, avoid letting the defense attorney get you in a trap of answering question after question with, "I don't know."

17.

Try not to seem nervous.

18.

Above all, do not lose your temper!

19.

If you don’t want to answer a question, do not ask the judge whether you must answer it. If it is an improper question, the prosecutor will take it up with the judge. Never ask the judge for advice.

20.

When being questioned by defense counsel, don’t look at the prosecutor or judge for help.

21.

Never argue with the defense attorney.

22.

Do not nod your head for a "yes" or "no." Speak so the court reporter can hear you.

23.

When coming from the witness stand after testifying, wear a confident expression, but do not smile or appear downcast.

24.

If a defense attorney asks you "Have you talked to anyone about this case?", answer truthfully.

25.

Review these tips so they will be firmly in your mind.

(Spanish Version)

If you feel you are being harassed and /or threatened by the defendant or the defendant’s friends and /or relatives please call the nearest law enforcement agency to make a report.  Also alert the prosecutor and /or victim witness services of what is happening.    There are laws that may assist you.

Witness Managers can be reached at

Seminole County (407) 665-6239
North Brevard County (321) 264-6926
Central and South Brevard County (321) 617-7559

 

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