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NCJ Number: 200978 Find in a Library
Title: California Court System: Healthcare Providers as Expert and Percipient Witnesses (From Child Abuse and Neglect: Guidelines for Identification, Assessment, and Case Management, P 257-259, 2003, Marilyn Strachan Peterson and Michael Durfee, eds. -- See NCJ-200932)
Author(s): Marv Stern J.D.
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 3
Sponsoring Agency: Volcano Press, Inc
Volcano, CA 95689
Sale Source: Volcano Press, Inc
P.O. Box 270
Volcano, CA 95689
United States of America
Type: Instructional Material; Issue Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter instructs health-care providers who may be called upon as expert and percipient witnesses in child maltreatment cases in California in the following topics: the California court system, whether the expert witness should have an attorney for the case, preparation for testimony, what to expect in court, and whether there is payment for testimony.
Abstract: In California, cases are filed in the superior and municipal courts. The family court is a division of the superior court and may consider allegations of child abuse or neglect in the context of custody battles. The juvenile court also includes dependency court, which is charged with protecting children and adolescents from abuse and neglect. Expert and percipient witnesses do not need an attorney. In superior court, municipal court, or juvenile court, the "people" are represented by the district attorney. In dependency court, the "people" are represented by county counsel. During the investigation/preparation stage, a health-care provider may be contacted by the deputy district attorney and asked to explain the medical findings and to answer hypothetical questions about what might have caused the conditions observed by the practitioner. The practitioner may also be contacted by a criminal defense attorney or the criminal defense investigator regarding the practitioner's examination. The expert witness is not required to talk to any of these individuals; the only time the practitioner is required to answer questions is when in court. Although most cases are resolved through plea bargain without the necessity for medical testimony in court, this chapter explains what is involved in preparing to testify, including the reception of a subpoena, the response to the subpoena, compliance with the subpoena, and preparatory discussions with the prosecutor. The explanation of what to expect in court addresses trial procedures, the scheduling of the practitioner's testimony, and procedures for receiving and cross-examining the testimony. If the practitioner or the practitioner's employer has a contract to provide forensic medical examinations, the contract may provide for a pre-set court-appearance fee; otherwise, forensic medical examiners negotiate their own fee. A relevant case vignette with follow-up questions is provided. 4 resources
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): California; Court procedures; Expert witnesses; Physician child abuse neglect role; State courts
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