Phoenix Municiple CourtStart Date: 07/11/2019
I was called to assist in a domestic violence case, the victim was a teenage girl afraid to testify against her ex-boyfriend. We met the victim and her mother along with the Teresa Fyffe, Victim Advocate, and the attorney, for several hours before the proceedings began. The victim was very nervous, literally shaking constantly and only found relief when she petted Cinder. The defendant chose not to plead guilty in the case, thus, the trial ensued. This news created even more anxiety for the victim. The defense attorney objected vehemently to the presence of a "Courtroom Dog," even to the point of asking the presiding judge for the entire court system to get involved. I gave our attorney the letter stating Cinder and I had extensive training, she was a working dog, etc., etc., and was allowed to be present during the proceedings. The defense attorney still wanted it noted for the record that she objected to the presence of a "Courtroom Dog."
When the victim testified I sat in a chair behind her holding Cinder's leash while Cinder sat at her feet in the witness box. The victim often looked down, smiled, and petted Cinder on the head, it seemed to calm her down a bit. We returned to the gallery to listen to the defendants testimony, hear closing arguments and the judgment. Unfortunately the defendant was found not-guilty. This caused the victim to abruptly stand and storm out of the courtroom. Teresa, her mother and I followed her out into the hallway. After composing herself she seemed relieved it was all over. They all thanked Cinder and me for being there and thought it really helped lessen her anxiety. We rode down the elevator together and said our goodbyes.Agency: Law Department City Prosecutor’s Office Victim Services Unit