Whether it is a fact witness or an expert witness taking the stand, Las Vegas trial lawyers must take into consideration the potential impact that witness attire may have on a jury. Clothing or a hotel and casino uniform may make a witness look more or less credible and can create emotional bias. This emotional bias could be positive or negative depending on the case. The appearance of a witness, including but not limited to attire, cannot be overestimated and how it may impact a jury should always be considered.
In a recent case in California, a defense witness in a trial was allowed to wear his military uniform while he testified. He was not enrolled in the military at the time of the shooting but apparently “turned his life around” in the time leading to the trial and joined the military. In appeal of the case the lower court’s decision was upheld in allowing him to testify in uniform saying they could “find no error in permitting military personnel to testify while in uniform, even if they are off-duty and testifying in an unofficial capacity.”
The full article is featured on The American Bar Associations Website: California Decision Focuses on Juror Perceptions of Witness Attire
Trial lawyers must try to anticipate issues like this and address them early. A juror’s decision process is an impressionable one and whether it is a doctor testifying in their scrubs or military personnel testifying in their uniform, be conscience of the potential impact it can make when preparing for trial.