Child Witness – Forensic Interview

As discussed in a previous blog, there are some circumstances in which a child witness may have a support person to accompany him or her during testimony.  Although not another accommodation, the video recorded statements are crucial to a good defense in a criminal sexual conduct case.
In Michigan, if a video recorded statement is used, it must be taken before the preliminary examination.  There are some requirements that must be met regarding the statement: (1) it must state date and time taken; (2) ID people present in the room and whether they were there for whole or part of statement; (3) must show a time clock running during the statement; (4) questioning should be full and complete; and (5) questioning should be in accordance with forensic interview protocol.
When can a video recorded statement be considered in court proceedings?
The statement can be used at all proceedings except the preliminary examination, which requires live testimony of the witness.  It may be admitted for impeachment.  It may be considered to determine the sentence.  It also may be used as a factual basis for a no contest plea or to supplement a guilty plea.
The statement should include the following information: (1) time and date of offense; (2) location and area of offense; (3) relationship between witness and defendant; (4) details of the offense and (5) the names of people the witness thinks may have personal knowledge of the offense.
Importantly, the defendant and his or her attorney have the right to view and hear the statement before the defendant’s preliminary examination.
If you or a family member is charged with rape in Michigan, please contact our office.  Each step in these types of cases is crucial to a solid defense.


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