ERIC Number: ED426487
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Children as Witnesses: A Survey of Evidentiary and Procedural Issues.
Brown, Lisa A.
Inquiry & Analysis, p1-6 Jan 1997
In school law, legal decisions frequently revolve around the testimony of a single child. A summary of the evidentiary and procedural concerns that may arise in such cases and an overview of practical advice for interviewing and examining children in a legal proceeding are provided in this article. The text discusses the competency of children to testify, the district courts' broad discretion in determining the competency of a witness, and the mental examinations for the purpose of determining competency, which usually are not allowed. When the accused attacks the credibility of a child witness, the other party may offer a prior consistent statement made by the child so as to restore the child's credibility. Other issues of importance include the admissibility of testimony by health-care providers, testimony related to statements over a startling event made under the stress of the event, statements made soon after the event, rules that create a hearsay exception for certain statements, evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior, and expert testimony in child-abuse cases. Some other issues that arise in child cases include protective procedures, such as videotaping and closed-circuit television; the use of pseudonyms; the right of confrontation in civil cases; investigative interviewing; and courtroom considerations. (RJM)
Descriptors: Children, Court Litigation, Elementary Secondary Education, Evidence (Legal), Interviews, Legal Responsibility
NSBA Council of School Attorneys, 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (by subscription: $75 for 6 bimonthly issues).
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National School Boards Association, Alexandria, VA. Council of School Attorneys.