An Evidence Code Primer for Family Law Attorneys Part II: Testimonial Evidence
Hon. William J. Howatt, Jr. (Retired) & Stephen D. Hamilton
Hon. William J. Howatt was appointed to the El Cajon Municipal Court in 1979 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and to the San Diego Superior Court in 1987 by Governor George Deukmejian. In the Superior Court he served as Presiding Judge of the entire Court in 1996 and 1997, on the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, and culminated his career on the bench as Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division. His legal career included over ten years as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of San Diego, including felony trials, the Fraud Division and the Appellate Division. Judge Howatt frequently lectures on Evidence law and has designed a special three-evening Evidence program for family law attorneys. He retired from the Bench in December of 2006. Since retiring, he does arbitrations and mediations with JAMS in San Diego and acts as a privately compensated temporary judge.
Stephen D. Hamilton has been an attorney for 22 years, with a practice devoted almost exclusively to family law for 20 of those years. He has been a Certified Specialist in Family Law since 2004. He is currently a member of the California Family Law Executive Committee, for which he is the Legislation Chair. He is a member of ACFLS and serves on the ACFLS Outreach and Amicus Committees. He is also chairperson of the San Luis Obispo County Family Law Section.
When litigating family law matters, the primary way in which attorneys can present their case is through the testimony of witnesses. This article, the second of a three-part series, discusses the specific Evidence Code sections to be considered when introducing or objecting to testimonial evidence. However, a prefatory discussion of what constitutes testimonial evidence, as well as how the Rules of Court, the Family Code, and case law affect the introduction of testimonial evidence, is warranted.