1 My name is I am going to court because I am a witness.
2 KIDS GO TO COURT Written by: Illustrations by: Staff in the District Attorney Offices in the State of Alaska who meet with the children who come to court to testify. A special thank you goes to the paralegals who contributed ideas for the content of the book and assisted in the editing process. Nanette Lindsey and Yvonne Willhauck played an important role in getting this project started. Linda Hann (for those credited to the Ramsey County Attorney s Office) Laurie Wonfor-Holand (for those credited to the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Canada) Courtroom drawing by the Santa Cruz Police Department Jody Lown, Victim-Witness Program Coordinator, Alaska Please send ideas or comments regarding this color and activity book by to or call , or write to Department of Law, Criminal Division, Victim-Witness Program, P.O. Box , Juneau, AK
3 Hi! If you are going to court for the first time, you probably have lots of questions. People in the District Attorney s Office wrote this book to help you understand about court. It has some pictures to color and some other fun things to do. We hope you like it. The book answers questions other kids have asked. So let s get started!
4 How Are You Feeling? Hi. My name is Mary. Doing new things for the first time can be exciting and sometimes scary. Do you remember how you felt when you first climbed up on the playground equipment? Lots of kids have been to court and they have had all kinds of different feelings about it. It is okay however you feel. Here are some of the ways kids have felt about court. Color the face or faces that show how you are feeling. Confused Curious Angry Happy Sad Scared If none of the faces show how you are feeling, draw how you are feeling.
5 The Courthouse and Getting to Court A courthouse is a building where judges work. Some communities in Alaska have courthouses and others do not. Do you know if your community has a courthouse? Here are some ways kids get to court in Alaska. In airplanes On snowmobiles In cars or trucks If you live close, by walking
6 What to Do Before Going to Court Get a good nights sleep before court so you are rested. Sometimes court takes a long time so you do not want to be tired. Be sure to dress neat but be comfortable. Maybe you can wear your favorite socks. What color are your favorite socks? Eat a good breakfast. Bring a snack in case court takes a long time and you get hungry. What is your favorite snack? Victims of Crime Hi, my name is Dylan. I am a witness but some people say I am a victim. What does that mean? You are a victim if a crime happens to you. You are a witness if you know something about a crime. If you are a victim, that means you are also a witness.
7 Meeting With the District Attorney and the Victim-Witness Paralegal Hi, my name is Joe. Does someone talk to kids before they go into the courtroom to be a witness? Yes, the attorney and probably a paralegal from the District Attorney s Office will talk with you. Hi, we are the attorney and the paralegal from the District Attorney s Office. Our job is to know the law and to try to prove in court when someone broke the law. To do that, we ask witnesses to come to court. We have asked you to do that because of something you saw or heard, or because of something that happened to you. Most kids have already talked to the police about what they will be asked in court. Did you talk to the police? The attorney is also called a prosecutor copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Ramsey County Attorney s Office, St. Paul, Minnesota Do you know the name of the attorney who is asking you to be a witness? Is there a paralegal to talk with you, too? What is her or his name?
8 Waiting to Testify Hi, my name is Amy. How long will I be at the courthouse? Sometimes court gets over quickly but most of the time court takes quite a while. After your meeting with the attorney, you will probably have to wait for a while, so it is a good idea to bring a book or something to do while you wait. Color these kids who are waiting to testify.
9 Going Into the Courtroom The attorney or paralegal will walk you into the courtroom. The drawing below shows the courtroom. The attorney or paralegal can tell you which chairs in the courtroom will be filled when you testify. Match the number with the chair in the courtroom to see where everyone will sit. 1. Judge 2. Clerk of Court 3. District Attorney or Prosecutor 4. Police Officer 5. Defendant s Attorney 6. Defendant 7. The Witness (You!) 8. Either the Grand Jury or, sometimes, people who want to see what is happening in the courtroom. The paralegal sits here sometimes. 9. Jury
10 People in the Courtroom 1. The judge The judge is the boss of the courtroom and makes sure people follow the rules. 2. The clerk of court The clerk of court helps the judge by taking notes and giving people the oath (you will learn about that later). 3. The district attorney The district attorney, sometimes called a prosecutor, has to know Alaska s laws to decide if a law has been broken. The district attorney s job is to try to prove the defendant broke the law.
11 4. The police officer The police officer s job is to listen to the witnesses. Sometimes he or she will whisper or pass notes to the prosecutor. The police officer is a witness, too. 5. The defendant The defendant is the person the police and the prosecutor say has broken the law. Maybe you know the defendant, maybe you don t. The defendant can be someone in your family. The defendant mostly sits quietly in the courtroom but sometimes writes notes or whispers to his or her attorney. 6. The defendant s attorney The defendant s attorney s job is to help the defendant. The defendant s attorney gets to ask you questions after the prosecutor has finished asking you questions. 7. The witness YOU! Your job is to answer questions and to always tell the truth. That job never changes.
12 There are two types of juries. 8. The Grand Jury Hello, we are the Grand Jury. We are people from your community. We are in a private courtroom with only the prosecutor and one witness at a time. We sometimes get to ask questions. 9. The trial jury Hello, we are the trial jury. We are people from your community. We are in a public courtroom with the judge, the prosecutor, the defendant, the defendant s attorney, the witness and sometimes court watchers. We decide if the defendant is guilty of breaking the law. We sit quietly and listen. During trials, sometimes court watchers sit in the chairs numbered 8 in the diagram.
13 The Job of a Witness and Taking the Oath The job of a witness is to tell the truth. Remember, that job never changes. Telling the truth is so important in court that all witnesses take an oath to tell the truth. An oath is like a promise. Testifying means answering questions in court after taking the oath. The attorney or paralegal will bring you into the courtroom and take you to the witness chair where you will sit while you testify. Then, you will take the oath. Taking the Oath Do you swear or promise that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? The judge or a person the judge has chosen will give you the oath. Most of the time it is someone who works for the judge whose job is called a court clerk. The clerk will ask you to raise your right hand and ask you to swear or promise to tell the truth. You take the oath to tell the truth by saying, I do. I do. copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the Ministry of the Attrney General, Ontario, Canada
14 Answering Questions Hi. My name is Mark. What happens after I take the oath? You answer questions. First, the prosecutor will ask you questions. Then, the defense attorney will ask you questions. It is their job to think of all the questions that they want to ask you. It is your job to answer the questions they ask and to always tell the truth. How old are you? I am seven years old. Sometimes when you are answering a question, the other attorney will stand up and interrupt you by saying objection. He says that so he can talk to the judge. Do not worry if that happens. You have not done anything wrong. Just stop talking until the judge tells you to answer questions again. copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the Ministry of the Attrney General, Ontario, Canada
15 Just remember these good witness rules! RULES FOR ALL WITNESSES 1. Tell the truth. 2. If you forget the question that was asked, ask the attorney to say it again. 3. If you don t understand the question, or you can t remember something, just tell them you do not understand or you can not remember. 4. Never guess or make up an answer. If you don t know the answer, say you don t know. 5. If you don t agree with what someone says, tell them you don t agree. 6. If you know the answer to only part of the question, answer the part you know, then tell the judge that you can t answer the other part. 7. If you have a question while you are a witness, or something is bothering you, talk to the judge. 8. Do not chew gum or wear a hat in the courtroom. I didn t understand that question. copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the Ministry of the Attrney General, Ontario, Canada
16 My name is Henry. What I have to testify about makes me very sad and it is embarrassing. I am worried about crying in court. If you are asked an embarrassing question, remember that judges and attorneys and everyone in court have heard people talk about embarrassing things before. Besides that, everyone has had embarrassing things happen to him or her, so they will understand how difficult it is for you. Try not to worry about crying in court. Lots of people cry in court and it is okay to cry in court. If you think you might cry in court, tell the prosecutor and he or she will make sure there are tissues for you.. My name is Marci. I am happy to testify but worried because when I get excited I have to go to the bathroom. What if I have to go to the bathroom while I am testifying? You tell the judge you need to go. I need to go to the bathroom. copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the Ministry of the Attrney General, Ontario, Canada
17 You will know you are finished testifying when the judge tells you that you are excused. You are excused. Thank you. That means I can leave now. After you are excused, you may leave the witness stand. The attorney or paralegal will tell you if you may leave the courthouse. You may feel very tired and want to rest, or you may just want to play. We are glad to be finished with court because we can play now.
18 The Judge or the Jury s Decision After all the witnesses have testified, the judge or the jury has a job to do. That job is to decide if there is enough evidence to prove the defendant broke the law. This is like putting a puzzle together. Sometimes the jury or the judge will feel confused or think that an important piece is missing. If that happens, they may find the defendant not guilty of breaking the law. It is never the fault of a witness if the defendant is found guilty or not guilty. The witness does his or her job by answering questions and telling the truth. copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the Ministry of the Attorney General, Ontario, Canada copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Ramsey County Attorney s Office, St. Paul, Minnesota
19 ACTIVITY SECTION The rest of the book has fun things to do. Animals are not allowed to come to court but they are fun to color. Here are some animals for you to color.
20 COLOR THE WITNESS GOING TO THE COURTHOUSE copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Ramsey County Attorney s Office, St. Paul, Minnesota
21 copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Ramsey County Attorney s Office, St. Paul, Minnesota Color the defendant and his attorney in court. Do you remember that the defendant is the person who the prosecutor says has broken the law? Breaking the law is a crime.
22 copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Ramsey County Attorney s Office, St. Paul, Minnesota Find what is wrong with this courtroom. See last page for answers.
23 copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the Ramsey County Attorney s Office, St. Paul, Minnesota Help the witness get to court. See last page for answers.
24 Word Search Activity Find and circle the court words. See the list at the bottom of the page for the words. Some words are forwards, some are backwards and some are diagonal. Good luck!! P C O U R T H O U S E G L R A A C J A O H T A O H T U R T R R O C R B J C P T W R E N S N A U O L J M C R T R E X L O N L R E G E H W O T N U C U R S E T T I C R U S B Z E U U M S G T N V T E K E Y Y N S P E N A M A E I W P C E R R E G E O L I D D O D R U J L U D E T I R T N J N O C T T S U J T I T E C E T B E N O C J E K U N S B I F E T R E R E W S N A G E S V E N L A W I T N E S S S U N E D U T O W A I T I N G W Q A E Y F I T S E T I C Y U U E WORD LIST JUDGE WITNESS OATH ROBE COURT PARALEGAL DEFENDANT CLERK TESTIFY VICTIM ANSWER EXCUSE JURY LAW MEETINGS QUESTIONS COURTHOUSE OBJECTION PROSECUTOR TRUTH WAITING See last page for answers.
25 MATCH GAME Match the words in column A to the meaning in column B. The first one is done for you. Column A Paralegal Judge Prosecutor Courthouse Defendant Victims Crime Witness Court Clerk Oath Jury Testify Law Defense Attorney Column B The boss of the courtroom People who had crimes happen to them Citizens who decide if the defendant is guilty after listening to all the witnesses The prosecutor s helper who will probably meet with you and talk with you about court The person who the prosecutor says broke the law A broken law A building where judges work to decide if someone has broken a law A person who saw, heard or knows something about a crime A promise to tell the truth Rules everyone has to follow The person who gives the oath to witnesses The attorney who works for the defendant The attorney who must prove the defendant broke the law he or she is also called an assistant district attorney Answering questions under oath See last page for answers.
26 Drawing Page
27 ANSWERS TO PUZZLES
28 This is the end of our book. We hope you liked learning about court! Now that the book is finished, we will all travel home again. Good-bye! This project was supported by Grant No. 95-WF-NX-0020, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, coordinates the activities of the following program offices and bureaus: Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office of Victims of Crime. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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