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NCJ Number: 98420 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Confronting Child Victims of Sex Abuse - The Unconstitutionality of the Sexual Abuse Hearsay Exception
Journal: University of Puget Sound, Law Review  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1984)  Pages:387-404
Author(s): K E Frank
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
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United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A Washington State law permits admission of a hearsay statement by a child sexual abuse victim under 10 years old upon the court's finding that the content and circumstances of the statement are sufficiently reliable. This is unconstitutional, because it permits the admission of hearsay of children to testify and does not permit cross examination.
Abstract: This exception to the hearsay evidence rule can apply when a child sexual abuse victim is unavailable to testify. The act does not define unavailability, however, so it condones the admission of hearsay by children too young to testify. Admission of such testimony conflicts with the principles underlying established hearsay exceptions and the defendant's right to confront witnesses. Under the statute, the defendant is forced to rebut the statement of an incompetent child whom he has had no opportunity to observe or cross-examine. The act may result in more convictions, but it greatly increases the risk of convicting innocent people. Seventy-eight footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Hearsay evidence; Juvenile witnesses; Right to confront witnesses; State laws; Testimony; Washington
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