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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-11-2017, 03:36 PM
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Default Is pressuring a witness to withdraw legal?

Hello All,

I'm not sure if this is unethical or illegal or just bad practice. My witness list and other docs were approved. I was told it is pre-trial and witnesses can be removed but not added. The list was provided to the ex.

One of my witnesses is a church minister. That has known the family both before and after separation. After seeing the name, my ex went to visit the ministers 'head' (don't know the name of the position the minister reports to) and showed him the trial paperwork.

The boss then tore a strip out of the minister's hide and the minister then came to me and told me he would not be a witness and have him removed. He has valid religious reasons not to be a witness for either party.

What happens now? Will / can she do the same to my other witnesses? What about the teacher?


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Old 03-13-2017, 02:37 PM
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Being a witness in a court case is not optional. You issue them a summons to witness and they must be there (failure to show is contempt of court).

Now you have to determine how this might affect your relationship with the witness.
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:30 PM
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I'm not sure how you could effectively threaten a teacher, their supevisors can't fire them easily. They will say what they saw, usually not a big deal one way or the other. Is your teacher witness there to drop a bombshell about the mom or is she just there to say that you are a reasonable father?

A minister might have been privy to personal and private information. I can see why he might be reluctant to testify. Is there any religious privilege? I didn't think so, but it might be the case.

Offhand, I wouldn't call anything in family law bad practice. It is pretty much a wild west. You do what you have to do to win. Your kids are on the line.
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Old 03-13-2017, 06:53 PM
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Did you ask the Minister if they would testify before adding them? If you did and they agreed then retracted after you ex spoke to someone then, that is a serious allegation of witness tampering. I would bring it up with judge and at trial would be asking your ex a lot of questions regarding this behaviour. I would also ask the Minister to write a letter if he is willing to say why he can't testify.
At the end of the day you can summons anyone. They can claim privilege and argue that at trial. My advice document, document document, call the minister by summons them and leave the minister on the list.

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Old 03-14-2017, 06:49 AM
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@ janus: wild west, eh? Wish i had realized how right you are. I wish she would pull the trigger already...

I have no bombshells, the minister was my only 'third party' witness that could speak up against her claims of abuse and that i am a good dad. He has known our family since we have had kids.

I don't know what the term 'privilege' means but if I don't remove him, he would use legal means to do so. It's his position that he has to remain neutral and not take sides.


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Old 03-14-2017, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asphenaz View Post
@ janus: wild west, eh? Wish i had realized how right you are. I wish she would pull the trigger already...

I have no bombshells, the minister was my only 'third party' witness that could speak up against her claims of abuse and that i am a good dad. He has known our family since we have had kids.

I don't know what the term 'privilege' means but if I don't remove him, he would use legal means to do so. It's his position that he has to remain neutral and not take sides.


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There is no legal means to remove yourself as a witness other than client solicitor privilege.
And that neutrality is why you should call him, he is a character witness, providing evidence to the contrary of the false allegations of abuse. He is a neutral witness not asked to take a position on the children or anything else. He is there to report only direct observations. That is all.
Keep him as a witness these 3rd party witness are important to a case.

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