Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'll see you in court!

Okay, so maybe that was not the exact message I received when I check my voicemail yesterday morning. However, when the words "subpoena" reached my ears, I may have let out an involuntary yelp.

That's right, folks, I've been subpoenaed.

Yours truly has been called as an eyewitness in a criminal court case.

I'm reluctant to speak of the details here, but I do want to clarify a little. Contrary to popular perceptions, I am not, in fact, an international spy or a gang member. Rather, this summer, while on our way to a movie, the Duke and I witnessed a crime in progress at a train station. Remembering all the research on the bystander effect (and there were actually people just walking on by), I was a good little bystander, and called the police, while the Duke attempted to stop the incident from progressing any further. I gave descriptions, the police came, handcuffed the suspect, we provided formal statements, etc, etc. We missed our movie, but had a good story to tell.

Fast forward several months, to yesterday to be exact. The two of us are called by the prosecutor to inform us that a subpoena is on its way and that we will need to make an appearance in court in December. Oddly enough, this comes right after a lengthy discussion in my psychology and law class regarding the flaws in eyewitness testimony.

I'm a little scared, to be honest. I'm pretty confident with public speaking, but the idea of swearing an oath in front of a courtroom and being cross-examined is a little petrifying. Sure, the likelihood of the court case going through is slim, and it is hardly a murder case, so the questions will likely exclusively relate to my written statement. I still can't help but picture being called out on my general credibility or being caught in a mistake.

"Your Honour, how can we trust this woman? I know for a fact that when she was 16, she was in a car full of adolescents pulled over for speeding... and unopened alcohol was found in the trunk of the car!"

*cue collective gasp from the jury*

"And she said the defendent was a man in his twenties, when she in fact was a woman in her 80s with one leg!"

*cue angry pitchforked mob chasing me*

Have any of you ever been to court before? Care to reassure me or frighten me further?

Edit: And, yes, Mister Ant (in comments) is correct. I don't intend to speak of this matter in any more detail-- I'm sure you all can understand why.

31 comments:

the almost right word said...

Well at least you will have TWO great stories to tell (witnessing the crime and then court)!! I've never been to court myself, but I've watched plenty of Law and Order if you need any tips. ;)

Matt said...

If I were an international spy I wouldn't admit it on my blog either.

I always had my suspicions about you pointful!!!!

Crushed said...

I have, yes, but I was convicted :)

ToughGirl101 said...

Only for my divorce... so that's sorta different.

Deutlich said...

Court's not so bad. You'll do just fine. :)

Psych Post Doc said...

Only on a jury. Here's to hoping they settle before you have to give testimony.

Ant said...

Only for jury duty, and I wasn't selected. Unemployed at the time though, so spending a week travelling to and from the local sheriff court actually made me feel like I was doing something constructive. Was greatly disappointed as I was keen to find out the ins and outs of courtrooms - just like John Grisham, or more like Ally McBeal? The truth I think, is far more mundane.

I'm sure you won't but I take it you're not going to blog about this any further? Exactly the sort of blogging that gets people deep into the poop...

Daisy said...

Um.. the only time I went to court was to learn how to be a court journalist, and as we were all seated there ready to observe proceedings, who should be called in to face speeding charges but my dad! We all sat there and took notes as he had his driving licence taken away!

Sorry that's not much help, good luck, just tell the truth and don't sound unsure of things you know you saw.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I went to small claims court after a car I bought turned out to be a lemon - I was worried that whatever I had to say wouldn't be enough and that I'd guffaw my way right out of the courtroom - but everything went smoothly. I wish you all the luck but something tells me you wont need it!

ericablonde said...

I was on a jury for a week a few years ago. It was kinda boring, except for the things like eyewitness accounts!

dmb5_libra said...

i have no advice....other than don't lie?

you're welcome.

i truly am a genius

sequined said...

Scary! I've only been in traffic court, but it was a way less big deal than I imagined. I'm sure you'll be fine.

Arielle said...

I think you'll be okay! You know what you saw, so just tell them exactly that. Good luck!

benjibopper said...

been to court, didn't say much. i'd be nervous too. sorry that's not very helpful. maybe a little pot beforehand?

verybadcat said...

I've never been to criminal court, but I'm pretty sure that your teenage shenanigans won't be aired....

I appeared in juvenile court for a traffic accident, and at the other party's adult traffic court hearing. You pretty much just say what you know, but then again, I wasn't cross-examined.

You'll be fine, though. It will be a little awkward, but you'll do well.

;-)

Bayjb said...

Wow I have never met anyone who was suponeaed. I cannot wait to see how this turns out. I object!

nicoleantoinette said...

Never done anything like it, but wish you lots of luck! Just be honest, that's all you can do.

wee-h said...

Remember its not you who is being prosecuted, anyways, you are a fine upstanding citizen arent you?? honestly?

(hoping for more juicy stories!)

t.k.foster said...

Princess admit it, you really are a spy for some organization. I'm too familiar with psychology to know when I'm reading a spy.

On a related note, goodluck.

lspoon said...

I've never been to court, not even traffic court, so I have no advice for you, sadly.

Though I must admit to being one of those weirdos who really wants jury duty :)

Dabby said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! I wish I could help, but I would be beyond terrified if I had to testify in court. But I am a wuss and you're probably not, so think of it as a fun new experience...and a great story!

Z said...

Never been to court, so no helpful hints here... Just wishes for good luck :)

distractedspunk said...

Thanks to the lack of decibels in my ear, barring any potential future in crime, I doubt I will ever step foot in court.

Good luck though!

Yoda said...

I am used to putting my foot in my mouth and other bodily places. I'm hoping I can slide by this life without having to go to court. I'm a soft little rabbit in the lawyers jaws.

Also, I watched this video y'day about how you should never talk to the police. And it scared me. You should watch it and maybe it will be helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik

Maxie said...

My parents have both been character witnesses for people... easy peasy! you'll be fine!

Jenn said...

I was involved in a lawsuit not too long ago. Giving my deposition was the most petrifying experience ever. Having two lawyers who think you're a liar throw out all these trick questions sucks.

Mind you I was the one suing someone else, so of course they were hard on me. You'll be fine!

Honestly though...I still think you're an international spy.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Fear is understandble. But you are doing great work for your community. You and The Duke loading both barrels in your cannons of truth to fire off some factual rounds at the slobbering beast of injustice.

Mount up!

So@24 said...

I think this was on an episode of Matlock...

Katelin said...

i would be horrible in court.

Daisy said...

I have been a witness before and it wasn't that bad. The attorney questioned EVERYTHING I SAID until I had to wonder myself if I was credible. But yeah - I survived.

Good luck!

Roshan said...

It's going to be ok. You're there to tell the truth. You will be great.