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NCJ Number: 134864 Find in a Library
Title: Maryland v. Craig: Electronic Testimony and the Confrontation Clause
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:12  Dated:(1991)  Pages:145-150
Author(s): M J Wolf
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The U.S. Supreme Court has made some progress toward defining exceptions to the sixth amendment which gives the criminal defendant the right to face the accuser at trial in the child sexual abuse case of Maryland v. Craig.
Abstract: Sandra Craig was charged with various sexual offenses and assault and battery. The victim named in each charge was a minor who had attended a preschool and kindergarten owned and operated by Craig. Prior to the trial, the State sought to invoke a Maryland statutory procedure which allowed the use of one-way closed circuit television wherein child witnesses gave testimony away from the courtroom and the defendant. While not being seen by the child witness, the defendant could view child testimony and remain in two-way electronic communication with counsel for cross-examination purposes. Craig objected to the procedure as violating the sixth amendment's confrontation clause. The trial court overruled the objection, concluding that the right to be face-to-face with the accuser is not the sole means through which the right of confrontation can be served. Following a conviction of the defendant on all counts, the court of appeals reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. This court held that, if the procedure is used, the State is required to present evidence of emotional distress beyond the expert testimony offered. The U.S. Supreme Court held that Maryland's statutory procedure was appropriate and that an exception to the confrontation clause's reference to face-to-face testimony can exist, especially with regard to the emotional trauma experienced by child witnesses. 43 footnotes
Main Term(s): Child abuse and neglect hearings; Right to confront witnesses
Index Term(s): Juvenile witnesses; Maryland; Rights of the accused; US Supreme Court decisions
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