C.S.C.: When Witness is a Child – Part I

Sometimes child witnesses are given special accommodations in a trial and other criminal proceedings.  It is important to remember that in a criminal case, you have a right to confront the witnesses against you pursuant to the Michigan and United States Constitutions.  However, there are carve-outs to this right.  One of those carve-outs is the child witness accommodation statute.  Despite this carve-out, your lawyer should continue to argue for your right to confront the witnesses against you; it is a right embedded in our constitution and should only give way under strict conditions.
The accommodations are made in only limited types of cases, to include: child abuse cases, cases involving child sexually abusive activity or material; criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree; and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct.
The witnesses include a victim who is either (1) a person under 16 years of age or (2) a person 16 or older with a developmental disability.
The next blog post will discuss the different types of accommodations that are available to child witnesses.  It will also discuss the steps the Government must take before these accommodations are made.
Contact Hills Law Office with any questions you may have on child witnesses and find further resources on how we defend in sex crime cases here.


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