I've been subpoenaed

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jan 19, 2011

    One of my students is going through a custody battle and I was served papers yesterday. The court date is Monday. Has anyone gone through this? I think I was subpoenaed because the little girl made comments to me about her father that made me uncomfortable, so I referred her to the school counselor. Everything the little girl told me is stated in the emergency custody papers I received the other day. For the record there is NO abuse suspected, but her father is putting the little girl into some situations that aren't appropriate, so her mother filed for custody. Am I actually expected to testify?
     
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  3. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Jan 19, 2011

    Yes, however the lawyer who requested the subpoena will or at least should "get you ready" before you are put on the stand, unless all you are being called to do is swear and affirm that the information in the case papers is accurate to the best of your knowledge in regards to your contact with the child.

    If the lawyer feels the other sides attorney will want to cross examine you then he should have a short meeting with you before hand to help get you ready to handle the "reindeer games" lawyers will try to play to get you to mess up your statement.

    Keep your responses simple and direct and don't leave and holes for interpretation by the oppositions lawyer.

    Good luck and try not to worry, if this is not an abuse case than your part is most likely rather minor.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 19, 2011

    It does happen, but they should prepare you for this. Just in case, I would also talk with your principal. I know that when I had to do something like this, I spoke with the district's lawyers before going to court. However, it ended up settling before I needed to testify though.
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jan 19, 2011

    As the others mentioned, your part will likely be straightforward (I won't say minor, because if the girl came to you first you're a key part of the chain of evidence).

    You will likely be called on to assert this, and possibly asked if there's anything else the girl told you. Emergency custody papers can't be used as evidence -- they're prepared specifically for a judicial proceeding, and obviously people would have an incentive to put all sorts of things in. So they're going to get your testimony as evidence. There's probably not all that much room to poke significant holes in your story, but I suppose if I were the lawyer for the father I'd try to make it seem like you'd either made a far bigger deal of it than warranted or that you led the girl into her conclusion. That you made a big deal over nothing isn't really a strong argument, since the only "big deal" you made was to refer her to a counselor. That probably occurs for all sorts of relatively minor things. That you had cajoled her (or that she had some incentive to fib at the time) would be a better argument, since it suggests that whatever she told you might not have actually happened. So, they might ask about circumstances around her telling you, like what you had said to her immediately before and after and what actually prompted the girl to bring it up.
     
  6. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 20, 2011

    Get every piece of documentation with that child's name on it and make duplicates for the court. You're considered an expert witness on how the child is performing during the school day
     

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