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NCJ Number: 98997 Find in a Library
Title: Sexual Abuse of Children - Washington's New Hearsay Exception
Journal: Washington Law Review  Volume:58  Issue:4  Dated:(November 1983)  Pages:813-829
Author(s): S K Peterson
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The 1982 Washington State law providing a new exception to the hearsay rule in child sexual abuse cases is not unconstitutional per se, but specific applications of the exception may be unconstitutional.
Abstract: Under the exception, a statement made by a child under 10 years old describing sexual contact performed with or on the child by another is admissible if several conditions are met. First, the child must either testify at the proceeding or be unavailable as a witness. Second, the court must find -- in a hearing conducted outside the jury's presence -- that the time, content, and circumstances of the statement provide 'sufficient indicia of reliability.' Third, if the child is unavailable as a witness, there must be corroborative evidence of the sexual contact described in the statement. Finally, the prosecution must notify the defendant of its intention to offer the statement far enough in advance of the proceeding to give the defendant opportunity to prepare a defense to the statement. Based on the two-pronged test outlined in Ohio v. Roberts (1980), the Washington law is not unconstitutional per se, but specific applications of the exception may be unconstitutional if the trial court fails to use proper criteria and procedures for evaluating reliability. A total of 100 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Hearsay evidence; Juvenile witnesses; Right to confront witnesses; State laws; Victim services; Washington; Witness assistance
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