Advocate News


05.02.2017

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Advocacy Tip: Testifying in Court

Testifying in Court

As a CASA advocate there will likely be times when you will be asked to testify in court about the case you are assigned to. In some situations there may not be a lot of time to prepare prior to being asked to testify in court. Other times, for example at trial, an advocate will know in advance that they will be called to testify and can prepare themselves beforehand. In either situation there are some things that advocates can do to prepare themselves for testifying.

Preparing Before the Court Hearing

Prior to the court hearing advocates should have received input from all of the parties involved in the case to prepare a court report. In collaboration with their supervisor, advocates should review the court report to make sure that the information contained in the report is an accurate reflection of the information the advocate has gathered and wants to convey to the court. Advocates can also prepare for testifying by reviewing any notes or documentation they have collected throughout the course of the case. If possible, it may also be helpful to review the case file at CPS prior to testifying in court, especially if an advocate is expected to be asked to testify at trial.

Testifying

When testifying in court it is important to listen carefully to the question being asked. If you do not understand the question, it is okay to ask for the question to be repeated. If you do not know an answer or do not remember a specific event, say so. If you are asked to testify from the witness stand, you can take a copy of your court report as well as your personal notes with you (Just keep in mind that the attorneys can ask to see whatever documents you are reading from). If an attorney objects to the question you have been asked, wait for the judge to ask you to continue with your answer. When answering questions speak clearly and answer the question truthfully.

Other Tips

When appearing in court make sure to dress professionally whether or not you expect to testify. Also make sure to wear your CASA badge so that court staff can easily identify who you are. Be sure to follow the rules of the courtroom (cell phone on silent, no food or drinks, etc) and be respectful of all the parties involved.

  1. What can an advocate do to prepare for testifying in court?
  2. What should an advocate do if they do not understand the question being asked of them?
  3. True or False. Advocates can wear jeans to court.


To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Leticia Hernandez at lhernandez@casa-satx.org.

Advocacy Tip: Testifying in Court