When a child has been the victim of abuse or witnessed traumatic events, they may need to testify in court. For attorneys, working with child witnesses can be fraught. Children are particularly vulnerable witnesses who may have a hard time recalling memories or describing their experiences coherently. This program, taught by Linda Watson, a family and criminal law attorney in Peoria, will guide attorneys through best practices when working with child witnesses.
The course will address the admissibility of a child’s statements when describing abuse, and state of mind exceptions in a variety of contexts, such as when presenting evidence of a traumatic event or expressing a preference for where they live in a family matter. The program will also discuss what attorneys should - or should not - discuss with Guardians Ad Litem, when to involve a forensic evaluator, and issues with audio or video recordings of child witnesses.
Linda is a dynamic attorney who currently focuses her practice in criminal and family law. She helps those who have been wrongfully stopped or detained enforce their constitutional rights. Linda has been successful in suppressing wrongfully obtained evidence and knows how to obtain hard to get evidence. She focuses her family law practice on helping families create a healthy flow between households and quality communication between families. Linda is not afraid to make sure that children are always protected, by obtaining court ordered alcohol and drug treatments of parents and ensuring that parents follow strict appropriate codes of conduct and minimize the effect of a parent’s separation on children. Her solutions are creative and unique, often finding resolutions outside the box, specific to each client’s needs.
Prior to founding and building Watson Law in 2010, Linda was an assistant state’s attorney for nearly seven years, prosecuting everything from murder to traffic. She enjoys teaching continuing legal education both locally and nationally to other lawyers in such areas as digital forensic evidence and children’s hearsay statements admissibility. Ms. Watson has had a number of cases succeed at the Appellate level, having been published several times on new and novel issues including the use of Google Maps as probable cause, second seizure traffic stops, and complex child support issues.
In her spare time, Linda enjoys spending time with her husband of many years, and their teenage son. She is passionate in pursuing traveling, photography, reading, hiking, and learning a second language.