Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cursing My Old Memory

About a month ago I had met a friend for a soda at a nearby McDonalds. While we were sitting there talking, a couple began a conversation over each other's behaviour as it regards the young girl who was sitting right there. She couldn't have been more than 6 years old.

Slowly the conversation got more heated and it became evident that there was no simple resolution. There was history between them and it wasn't about to be settled in a short, quiet conversation in McDonalds.

One parent made a reach for the child and it got pretty ugly very quickly. Pushing and shoving ensued, but what really hurt was watching them both play a game of "Keep Away" using the child.

I'd had it! No one but my friend and I were in this part of the dining room so the options were limited. I grabbed my half full soda and faked a refill, sat behind a partition and dialed 911.

The police came, but not before the man shoved the woman hard enough to send her sunglasses and phone to the floor (breaking the glasses) - while putting his body between the mother and child. They both took turns playing this game. The child clung to whichever parent she could - when she wasn't being yelled at to "run" or "get in the car" or something. Like I said - Ugly.

In the end the man left in cuffs and the woman was talking with an officer. The little girl sat nearby looking terribly sad. One officer came over to me asking if I was the woman who had placed the 911 call. I said yes and gave them my contact info and thought very little of it.

It seemed obvious to me that there was enough history here and people involved now to settle it. It shook my friend and I up for a while but both of us had to be on our way so off we went.

Lo and behold I get mail yesterday from the courthouse. I've been served a subpoena to testify in the resulting Domestic Assault and Batter case.

Well Drat! Now of course I don't remember all the particulars like I had weeks back and I'm freaking out worried that I'll get something wrong. A child is at stake. As difficult as it is to replay in my mind I can't let myself forget what happened that day.

Anyone have tips for recalling events as they happened? I have a better than average memory already, but who pushed who first and who said what isn't as sharp as I want it to be right now! I can't go on the stand saying what I think happened, I have to KNOW. I was there, I saw it all. Why can't I jog my memory more!? I need an Instant Replay button. Help?


Michelle said...

Are you being called as a witness in the court or are you being deposed by lawyers? There is a big difference. You are doing the right thing by writing it out. Talk to your friend to see if what you are remembering is what she remembers. When you get in front of the lawyers, only answer yes or no questions unless they ask you to describe something. The lawyers might even ask you personal questions to try to get you flustered. You do not have to answer anything personal. I was deposed in a domestic case once and the guys (my friends now ex husband) lawyer asked me who my childs father was. I told them it was none of their business because it had nothing to do with the case at hand. Don't be worried. You did the right thing.

Lea said...

The subpoena says: Testify at trial/examination/hearing.

Thanks for the tips, Michelle.

btw: I DO have a decent memory! :)

Debbie said...

Well put Michelle and I can't think of anything to add, Lea.

Hat's off to you for doing the right thing and getting involved. I would have called too. I turned a Mom in for child abuse about 15 years ago...don't regret it for a minute either.

Tonjia said...

that is bizarre to call a complete stranger as a witness without their knowledge.

I would demand a meeting with the DA and find out what it is that they need you to say.

They may just need you to say that you witnessed the physical contact from party A to party B...

Lea said...

The plaintiff is listed as The State of Michigan.

Looks like I'm going to have to do my homework here and find out what all will be involved.

Thanks, Tonjia.

Di said...

Wow, this is tough. I don't know if I have any advice, but if there's anyone I would want testifying where a child is involved, it's you, Lea. Just do your best to remember what happened (jotting some notes can help) try your best to separate what you "know" versus what you "interpreted" and realize that testifying will be stressful no matter what. Good luck.

Shar said...

Wow. I am so proud of you for stepping in, calling, AND giving them your information. Leave it up to you to do the right thing :)

If you want free legal advice from a court lawyer - I have a friend you can speak with. Let me know.