Appearing In Court - Instructions

Appearing in Court
A. Plaintiff/Petitioner(s): The person(s) who filed the case initially.

B. Defendant/Respondent(s): The person(s) against whom the case/law suit was brought.

You are entitled to get notice of the hearing(s). If you feel that you have not been properly served, or are not ready to present your case, you may ask the court for a continuance. Make sure that you have received all the documents filed which contain the facts/allegations against you.

Just like the plaintiff/petitioner, a defendant/respondent is expected to provide their testimony as well as other information at Court hearings.

Information for Both Parties
  • Dress properly and be polite.
  • Beverages are not allowed in the Courtrooms. Turn your cell phones off or to silent mode. Remove your hat unless it is for religious or medical purposes. Minor children are not allowed in courtrooms. Please make arrangements for them before you come to court.
  • Be respectful to the Court, the Court Clerk, Court staff members, the other party and any witnesses. Do not interrupt others when they are speaking. Both sides will be given a chance to tell their side of the story.
  • Address the Judge as "Your Honor" and the Clerk as "Madam Clerk" or "Clerk."
  • Remember that the Court is hearing a specific set of facts depending upon the type of matter presented to it. The facts that matter to the Court during a specific hearing are the facts which relate to the definition in/on the petition or motion before it that day.
  • Parties may want to object to information. Be aware, however,that as long as the information is helpful to the Court, it most likely will review the information. The Court will determine how helpful the information is. The Court may interrupt if it feels that the information is not helpful.
  • Parties may bring sworn statements or declarations to court to submit instead of live testimony. Blank sworn statement forms are available at the County Clerk's Office. Please write your case number on the form(s) in the appropriate place.
  • Any documents, including photographs, police reports, medical records, sworn statements or declarations will be required to be shared with the other party. If you are bringing a copy to show the Court, bring an extra copy for the other party. If you do not do this, the hearing will be interrupted (and delayed) in order to allow the other party to review the information. Information which a party refuses to show the other party will not be considered by the court.
  • Once the Court has heard all of the information from both sides, it will state its decision. Do not interrupt the Court at that time, even if you disagree with the court.
  • Copies of items signed in Court or previously ‘Filed' with the Court can be purchased at the Clerk's Office. They do not accept Credit/ Debit cards or personal checks. Cash only.
Appearing in Court When a Protection Order is Requested
If you are a party in a civil Protection Order case, please be aware of the following information regarding these types of hearings

Petitioner

Petitioner(s): (The person(s) wanting an order of protection)

After a temporary order is granted; if you fail to appear at the hearing or fail to appear on time, your case may be dismissed. If you are unable to appear due to illness or a legitimate emergency, call the County Clerk's Office before the hearing to let them know that you would like to have the matter set to another day. Please have your case number ready. The Court may or may not grant this request.

You will have a hearing within 2 weeks of the temporary order being granted. That hearing is to decide whether the temporary order should be entered for a longer period of time. At that hearing, the Court does not consider the statement in the petition you have filed as evidence. You must testify and/or present other information that convinces the Court that you should have an order of protection. Make sure to bring whatever information you want the court to consider to the hearing.

If the respondent does not appear after having been given proper notice, the Court, generally, will grant your full order of protection based upon the facts in the petition.

If you have decided to dismiss your case, please tell the Court Clerk upon entering the courtroom. This will cause your case to be reviewed by the Court at the start of the court session, allowing you to possibly leave sooner.

If the respondent has not been given proper notice, the Court will tell you. The respondent needs to have the papers served upon him/her within a set number of days before the hearing. The Court needs to have written proof that the respondent has been given proper notice by the time of the hearing. If the respondent has not been served with papers or there is not written proof, the Court will ask if you would like to have your matter reset to another date and extend the temporary protection order.

Respondent
Respondent(s): The person(s) against whom the protection orders are sought.

You are entitled to get notice of the hearing. If you feel that you have not been properly served, or are not ready to present your case, you may ask the court for a continuance. Make sure that you have received not only the Temporary Order, but also the petition, which contains the facts against you.

Just like the petitioner, a respondent is expected to provide their testimony as well as other information at the hearing.

You may have a pending criminal charge based upon the same set of facts stated in the petition. Before appearing at the hearing for the protection order, discuss the existence of this protection order case with any attorney that has been assigned to (or hired by) you in your criminal case. A respondent has a right not to testify or offer information at the hearing.

Information for Both Parties
  1. Dress properly and be polite. Be respectful to the Court, the Court Clerk, Court staff members, the other party and any witnesses. Do not interrupt others when they are speaking. Both sides will be given a chance to tell their side of the story.
  2. Remember that the Court is hearing a specific set of facts depending upon the type of protection order the petitioner requests. There is a definition of domestic violence, harassment, and sexual assault listed in each petition. The facts that matter to the Court are only the facts which relate to the definition in/on the petition.
  3. Parties may want to object to information. Be aware, however, that as long as the information is helpful to the Court, it most likely will review the information. The Court will determine how helpful the information is. The Court may interrupt if it feels that the information is not helpful.
  4. Parties may bring sworn statements or declarations to court to submit instead of live testimony. Blank sworn statement forms are available at the County Clerk's Office. Please write your case number on the form(s) in the appropriate place.
  5. Any documents, including photographs, police reports, medical records, sworn statements or declarations will be required to be shared with the other party. If you are bringing a copy to show the Court, bring an extra copy for the other party. If you do not do this, the hearing will be interrupted in order to allow the other party to review the information. Information which a party refuses to show the other party will not be considered by the court.
  6. Once the Court has heard all of the information from both sides, it will state its decision. Do not interrupt the Court at that time, even if you disagree with the court.
Keep any order the judge signs with you at all times!

Your signed order is in effect in any state within the United States.