Inside-the-Courtroom

					                                                                                        TRIALS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
                                         Dear Citizen:
                                                                                        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 Center:
                                         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-
                                                 and
   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

				
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