Document Type

Article

Abstract

Given its controversial nature, one would expect the practice and ethics of witness coaching to have attracted close scrutiny by courts and commentators. Interestingly, however, the subject has received relatively modest attention. A handful of judicial and ethics opinions have discussed superficially the subject of witness preparation and coaching. Practitioner manuals typically offer general guidance on how to prepare witnesses, and occasionally address tactical and ethical issues involved in coaching. Scholarly commentary has examined the ethical limits of witness preparation, particularly by differentiating acceptable techniques from improper techniques, which promote false or misleading testimony. In addition, popular culture occasionally has dramatized the subject. However, despite a discrete body of literature devoted to witness preparation generally, there has been very little discussion by courts and commentators on witness preparation and coaching by prosecutors.