TRIALS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
The following is provided as a
courtesy for you, your family and
As a victim and witness for the State, you
friends when you come to Court at the
have an important part in the Criminal
Justice System. You are vital to the
prosecution. I need your help to do my Under Art. 36.06 C.C.P., witnesses
job effectively. I trust you will rely on my when placed under rule, shall be
office to represent your interests and instructed by the court that they
protect your rights. are not to converse with each
other or with any other person
The truth of your testimony, the manner in about the case except by permis-
which you give it and the appearance you sion of the court, and that they are
make while on the stand and in the not to read any report of or
courtroom are all vital to the State’s comment upon the testimony in
presentation of the case to the judge or the case while under rule. . .
jury. Witnesses are not allowed in the
courtroom to hear testimony of
I hope the information outlined in this others unless granted by the
brochure will address some of your Judge of the Court or until final
concerns about court procedures and argument of the case.
make you feel more comfortable with the
Criminal Justice System.
JOE SHANNON JR. Ask your family and friends to
attend court with you. We encour-
This information is Criminal District Attorney
age you to have the support you
feel you may need.
provided as a
courtesy for During all stages of the criminal
process, keep your Victim Assis-
Avoid talking in the courtroom
and avoid talking about the case
victims of crime, tance Coordinator informed of:
in the presence of the jury, the
defendant, other witnesses or
their family and Your address & phone number;
anywhere in the courthouse where
you may be heard. Not following
friends when they Your desire to be kept informed
this suggestion could cause a
MISTRIAL in your case.
enter the Justice of pertinent information
concerning your case; Avoid emotional outbursts in
Center to appear the court. Such outbursts could
be looked at as an attempt to
in Court. Information you feel may be
important to the
influence the jury, and may result
in the judge asking you to leave
VICTIM ASSISTANCE investigation of the case; and the courtroom.
District Attorney’s Office
401 W. Belknap, Fort Worth, TX.
(817) 884-2740 Your feeling about plea bargaining. If you feel you may be at a break-
Monday - Friday 7:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. ing point” or you feel a need to
For many victims, waiting alone in a
express anger, it is best to qui-
etly leave the courtroom, and crowded hallway before or after being
find a safe place to go. called to testify can be intimidating.
Victim Assistance provides a comfortable,
secluded area where victims and their
IF YOU ARE GOING TO TESTIFY:
family can safely wait. While waiting, the
REMEMBER that the defendant is on
trial – YOU are not. victim has an opportunity to visit with the
Victim Assistance Coordinator if there are
questions concerning the Victim Impact
The defendant will be in the
Statement, compensation, social service
courtroom at all times. You will
be asked to identify him/her if referrals or court proceedings. Victim
you can. Assistance is located on the 5th floor of
the Justice Center.
Always tell the truth. Don’t
guess or make up an answer. If
you are asked about details you
don’t remember, it is best to (b) The court
say, “I don’t remember.” shall permit a
victim, close rela-
tive of a de-
Be attentive. You will be ques- ceased victim, or
tioned by the prosecutor and guardian of a
then questioned by the defense As a victim under Art. 42.03 victim, . . . To
attorney. It is important for you C.C.P., you have the right: appear in per-
to listen to every question son to present
asked, take your time and to the court a statement of the person’s
views about the offense, the defendant,
answer directly and objectively. and the effect of the offense on the
Do not answer the question until victim. The court reporter may not tran-
all the question has been asked. scribe the statement. The statement
must be made:
Dress conservatively and be (1) after punishment has been
courteous. The jury’s impres- assessed. . .
sions of witnesses may be
based on what they see from the (2) after the court has announced the
terms and conditions of the sentence;
jury box and on their observa-
tions of the witnesses’ conduct
in and around the courtroom. (3) after sentence is pronounced.
Your conduct as a witness is
always subject to review, and If you wish to exercise this privilege,
please make sure you let the prosecu-
should conform with the court’s tor or coordinator know.
and prosecutor’s suggestions.
December - 2009