Watching a loved one go through the criminal justice process is scary and frustrating. You may feel misinformed and helpless. How can you cope? What can you do? Here are some tips and advice.
1) Take a deep breath, and prepare for a long ride. Typically, the process of going through the criminal justice system is slow and you will need to be patient.
2) If several people want to be involved in your loved one's case, designate one person to be the liaison in communications with the attorney. This person will interact with the attorney, as opposed to the attorney having to talk individually to each person. This way, the attorney can better utilize their time working on your loved one’s case. At critical junctions in the case, the liaison can set up a free conference call line and organize a conference call. Be sure to e-mail the attorney any questions in advance of the call if possible.
3) Be in charge of helping your loved one assemble character letters. These letters can come from friends, co-workers, and neighbors and attest to the character of your loved one. While they are helpful to the attorney in many ways, they also serve another purpose. These letters are encouragement to your loved one!
4) Don’t spend too much time doing research on the law on the Internet. While there are some good sources on the Internet, there is a lot of garbage, misinformation, and some scary stuff.
5) Follow your loved one’s lead. They may want to “vent” or discuss some aspects of the situation with you as a means of coping, or they may prefer not to go into any detail at all. Respect their decision.