What to expect in an assault case

My daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s mom called me, and her son’s assault hearing is coming up soon. Against my daughter. She wanted to make sure that my daughter will be there for the hearing. I think the hope is that my daughter will revise what she said in her statement the night it happened.

What can I expect in court? He has been taken into custody and is in jail now. Is there any chance that my daughter will be allowed to speak? I would really prefer that her previous statement be the only evidence allowed, because my concern is that she will buckle under the combined pressure of her ex-boyfriend and his mom.

Get this. She has still been talking to both of them, against our very strenuous objections. Of course they have every reason to be very nice to her at this point due to the circumstances. I wouldn’t even have known about this hearing if the mom hadn’t called tonight to talk to my daughter and ‘make sure she was going to be at the hearing.’:rolleyes: Getting angry at this point won’t help, and we just want our daughter to stay away from now on - far, far away.

The police do have our daughter’s statement on hand, plus some evidence that this incident did take place. Would it be better if our daughter doesn’t go at all?

Is your daughter on a witness list or some other schedule for the hearing? Has she been told that she needs to appear? Have you spoken with the prosecutor about what her role will be, and about the calls from the guy’s mother?

I don’t have any answers for you, but those are good questions. Today is the first I’ve heard about a hearing. I would imagine that she isn’t scheduled to speak in any way, because the mom wouldn’t be calling me and asking me if my daughter was going to be there - it would be a foregone conclusion.

Of course, that’s just my guess. My daughter isn’t home right now.

OK, I was able to retrieve the court schedule. It says that this will be an exam conference. What is that?

That depends. What do you mean by “hearing”? Is it a motions hearing, a status hearing, or (most likely) a preliminary hearing? Is it adult court or juvenile court?

Assuming it’s a preliminary hearing in adult court, it is unlikely that they will be able to use your daughter’s police statement at all. I don’t know Indiana’s evidence rules, but in every jurisdiction I know, it’s inadmissible hearsay. In all likelihood, if your daughter doesn’t show up, one of two things will happen: either the case will be continued to another day, when your daughter will be asked to show up again, or the case will be dismissed outright.

If your jurisdiction is like my jurisdiction, here’s what will happen. A few minutes before the hearing, a prosecutor will pull your daughter out into the hallway and discuss her testimony with her, making sure it is consistent with the police statement. Then, when the hearing begins, the prosecutor will call up your daughter. Someone will swear her in. The prosecutor will say something like, “Hello Purpledaughter. Can you tell us where you were at 5:30pm on Tuesday September 25th?” She’ll answer, then the prosecutor will say, “And do you see anyone in the courtroom today who was there at that time?” And she’ll point at ex-boyfriend. Then the prosecutor will say “And what happened?” And she’ll tell her story. If she leaves out anything important, the prosecutor will ask her about it.

Then the defense attorney will start asking questions. For a preliminary hearing, he’s not (usually) trying to play any games, or poke holes in the victim’s story. He knows that he’s not going to “win” in this hearing, so he just wants to bring out any facts that will help him at trial. He’ll ask if she’d been drinking. He’ll try to pin her down on the exact words that were used during the incident, so that if it changes later, he can point back to her earlier testimony. Likewise with the exact order of the events. If the event is clear in your daughter’s mind, and she’s clear on her direct testimony (when the prosecutor is asking the questions), then there is often very little cross-examination from the defense.

Then the judge will tell Purpledaughter to step down, and the prosecutor will call up the officer who showed up at the incident, who will testify in a fast bored monotone. Some prosecutors like to call the cop first, it’s up to the individual prosecutor.

These hearings (assuming, still, that it’s a preliminary hearing we’re talking about) are usually pretty quick. The burden of proof is very easy for the prosecution to meet, so neither side puts a lot of effort into them. Of course, if the complaining witness fails to show up, the burden of proof suddenly gets a lot harder to meet. It’s possible to get it with only the cop’s testimony, but it’s not easy.

For the witnesses, the worst part is waiting for three hours on an uncomfortable bench for your case to be called.

On a side note, you or your daughter need to tell the prosecutor that she’s been in touch with the defendant and defendant’s mother. The judge might order them to stop.

(Okay, I’m not going to try to edit that to account for the simulpost.)

I’m unfamiliar with the nomenclature, but I can tell you that a preliminary hearing is NOT an “exam conference.” It’s likely that the mother called you to ask if you’d be there because, in fact, it is not necessary for you do be there. If your daughter was not called, she’s either not needed, or they don’t have her address.

Advice: get in touch with the prosecutor’s office tomorrow to find out.

OP, your location says Indiana. Is that where this case is being tried?

I couldn’t find anything called an Exam Conference on the Indiana courts website, but i did find something called a Pre-Exam Conference on the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Association:

I figured it was possible, given how close Indiana and Michigan are, that the trial might be taking place there.

If the guy’s mother is calling and asking for your daughter to show up, it could be that this is the type of hearing that is scheduled. She probably figures that, if she can get your daughter to back off or soften her position, it might not even go to trial.

It seems to me that, at an absolute minimum, you need to get in touch with the prosecutor and find out what will happen tomorrow, whether s/he needs your daughter there, and whether s/he recommends that your daughter attend even if she’s not needed.

You stated that he was recently taken into custody. To your knowledge has he been “arraigned?” Is it less than 72 hours since he was arrested? At an arraignment hearing (also apparently called an “initial hearing” in Indiana), the charges will be read against the Defendant officially, and the judge will decide if bail will be set and how much. The judge will not consider the merits of the charges or any issue of guilt or innocence.

As far as exactly what happens, I only have experience with arraignments in New York and I don’t know how relevant that would be to your situation.

Agree with the above poster that your best bet is to contact the DA.

I think that you are right. I need to contact the prosecutor and get some more details about this case. I also want to find out what I can do about keeping contact to a minimum. Here’s the rub; my daughter seems to think that she should be supportive of this kid because she’s ‘the only one who understands him.’ Believe me, there is not a big enough eye roll to cover how I feel about that one. It pisses me off twice as much that his mom is also calling and asking if my daughter will be there. Manipulative much? My daughter also talks to the mom sometimes.

My husband and I are seriously trying to bite our tongues here. The things that we want to say would only alienate our daughter from us, but we can see that the mom is trying to manipulate our kid into changing her testimony.

According to this

the judge at an initial hearing has the power to issue a restraining order as a condition of bail. In New York I can tell you the judge nearly always does so in this type of case, over the objections of the victim in many if not most cases. I have no idea of the m.o. in your local court.

If your daughter is under 18 you have substantial legal power over her, to the point where you could get a restraining order even without her consent. If she’s over 18 you probably have no role.

You might also want to be aware of who is doing the reaching out. If it is provable via phone records (yours or other moms) that calls are going out from your house phone, or your daughter’s cellphone to he or his mother’s phones, that’s not going to help your daughter’s case.

I believe her daughter is 20.

purple haze, call the local prosecutor’s office and talk to the person handling this case.

There are two scenarios:
(1) He agrees to a plea bargain, where he pleads guilty. In this case, your daughter would not have to testify in court.
(2) He pleads not guilty, and there is a trial at which your daughter would likely have to testify. He has the right to face his accuser, etc. And if she was the victim, obviously she is the main witness.

Of course, I am not an attorney, but I am certain that the prosecutor would be able to answer these questions… HOWEVER, the prosecutor may or may not talk to you about the details of the case since you are not involved. They may only talk to your daughter.

If your daughter is not a reliable witness, he could easily walk. It would be a shame if she failed to follow through on this.

Question: how is your daughter communicating with the boyfriend? Is he calling collect from jail? If so, who is paying for it? Does she have a cell phone? How is she paying for it?