You don’t really need to understand these technical rules — who can submit what evidence, when and how, etc. Just appreciate the general concept. If your case hinges on one person’s account that you did something wrong or failed to meet your child’s needs in some way, you can potentially challenge that account, preventing the court from ever allowing such testimony to be introduced into the record.
The battle over the admissibility of evidence is somewhat analogous to a goal-line stand in football, in which both sides grind it out for a few vital yards. The casual fan might not understand the technical battle – how various plays are supposed to work. But the fan gets the gist, which is that the battle for yardage is crucial. Likewise, the battle over evidence can lead to game altering “touchdowns” that can have profound ramifications for the case.
If the police ever needed to respond to a family situation and fill out a report at your home, the division may include copies of any conversations involving law enforcement. However, unless an officer actively testifies, the content in the police report cannot be used as evidence.
If the division can prove that you abused or neglected another child in your family — even in a very minor way — that proof can be used as evidence in your current abuse or neglect case.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” In American jurisprudence, the court general gives the accused the benefit of the doubt. Prosecutors must go on offense and prove their case. However, this “innocent until proven guilty” concept has its exceptions. Shockingly, it does not really apply in child abuse cases. Let’s say a doctor found an injury on your child that is not directly linked to you. But the injury couldn’t reasonably have happened except as a result of something harmful done to your child or some act of negligence on your part or the part of another caregiver of your child. In that case, the injury can be considered prima facie evidence that you abused or neglected the child, which shifts the burden of proof. The accused parent now must prove his or her innocence.
Therapy can be a wonderful tool in terms of promoting self-knowledge, healing and wisdom.
However, when wrongly or clumsily deployed, therapy can lead to more harm than good.
DCP&P will almost certainly ask the court to have you psychologically evaluated by a psychologist. The results from these sessions will then be submitted and used during the fact-finding hearing. These sessions are not confidential therapy sessions. The state’s mental health professionals are not necessarily bad people or inept, but you need to be very careful. You and your attorney should review this report and develop a plan to defend against any untrue or exaggerated implications in it.
For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.