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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99460 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Procedure - Child Witnesses - The Constitutionality of Admitting the Videotape Testimony at Trial of Sexually Abused Children
Journal: Whittier Law Review  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:(1985)  Pages:639-661
Author(s): D Wise
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews recent statutes permitting videotaped depositions of the sexual child abuse victim's testimony, considers the constitutional rights of the accused relative to the use of videotapes, and examines other methods used to assist a child victim in testifying.
Abstract: Recent court decisions and statutes, recognizing the emotional trauma to the child sexual abuse victim and the difficulty children have in understanding and coping with court procedures, have permitted the use of videotaped child testimony. In a number of cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that there is a compelling State interest in the protection of the child abuse victim. With respect to the defendant's sixth amendment rights, videotaped testimony is taken in the presence of the defendant's attorney and the taping process provides every opportunity conferred by a trial. In two relevant decisions, the Court has held that in cases of competing interests, circumstances may warrant dispensing with confrontation at trial, and that, when heresay statements are made under circumstances similar to those of an actual trial, the defendant's rights are not violated by admitting that statement at trial. In addition to videotaping, methods that are being used to ease the burden on the child victim and to enhance testimony include the use of anatomically correct dolls, closed-circuit television, and the use of a psychiatrist as an interpreter and intermediary in questioning. Where previously the rights of the accused were zealously protected and the victim's rights were lost in a mass of rules of evidence, videotaping now represents the rights of the child victim. Included are 190 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Right to confront witnesses; Rules of evidence; Sexual assault victims; US Supreme Court decisions; Victim-witness legislation; Victims rights; Video taped testimony
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