Can a witness ask for people to be removed from a courtroom?

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Can a witness ask for people to be removed from a courtroom?

My wife was just subpoenaed to testify in a case involving the custody of her younger brother. Her Dad is trying to prevent her Mom from being granted custody. My wife is a “neutral witness” and doesn’t want to take sides in the case because it might be hurtful to her family. When testifying, does she have the right to have “non-essential” people removed from the court so her family cannot hear what she says on the stand? Essentially, she would only like to give her testimony in front of a judge, jury, and attorneys with no-one else present in the courtroom.

Asked on November 16, 2010 under Family Law, Idaho

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your wife is in a tough position, to be sure.  If she can consult with an attorney in your area on the matter that would be great.  Is this really a matter being tried before a jury?  Or is it just a mater being tried before a Judge? The attorney can then request that the Judge permit her to give her testimony "in camera" which means in the Judge's chambers.  But it does not mean that her parents will not be present.  They may be able to be present just not other people in the Courtroom.  She needs to explore all her rights here. There may be more than she is aware of. Good luck.  


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