Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2012

Judge: Child can testify via video in Eudora sex crime case

May 10, 2012, 12:14 a.m. Updated May 10, 2012, 10:10 a.m.

Advertisement

A Douglas County judge Wednesday ruled a 7-year-old alleged victim in a Eudora sex crime case could testify via video feed at the trial out of the presence of the defendant.

District Judge Michael Malone granted the motion from prosecutors who worried that being in the same room with the defendant, a 27-year-old Eudora man accused of molesting her, would be traumatic for her and that she would refuse to speak. A mental health clinician testified at an earlier hearing the girl suffered partly from post-traumatic stress disorder and that her behavior had regressed recently when the therapist informed her she may have to go to court.

Defense attorney Hatem Chahine had objected to the motion and argued prosecutors had not proven the girl was specifically afraid of the defendant but just coming to court in general. Judges must find that requiring an alleged child victim to testify in front of a defendant would harm the child’s welfare.

“There’s an opinion that she could completely shut down and not give testimony at all, and that’s not justice either,” Malone said, adding the girl likely would be in the room with only attorneys for both sides while the defendant, jury and judge would watch via video.

Malone did grant a separate motion from Chahine to have an independent psychiatrist evaluate the alleged victim before the trial. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday. Prosecutors accuse the defendant of molesting the girl over about a one-year period before his arrest in July 2011. He faces one count of child rape and two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy.

The Journal-World generally does not identify sex crime suspects unless they are convicted.

Comments

consumer1 2 years, 7 months ago

"Judges must find that requiring a child alleged victim to testify in front of a defendant would harm the child’s welfare." Doesn't this presume the defendent to be guilty? and although I don't dis-agree doesn't the alledged offender have the right to face his/her accuser?

08Champs 2 years, 7 months ago

It's a 7 year old child - luckily many courts have evolved to recognize that this "face you accuser" stipulation works well for adults. Robbery, murder, white collar crimes, etc. But small children that have been "alleged" to be victimized in this way? You adjust humanely. Otherwise you might be rewarding the alleged perpetrator for the tender age of the victim.

conlawgrad 2 years, 7 months ago

Not only did the Supreme Court decision that actually allowed this decision to even be possible make me mad but this decision by Judge Malone made me just as mad. It is guaranteed in the 6th Amendment that every defendant has the right to face their accuser. Read Justice Scalia's dissent in Maryland v. Craig. It lays out the reason why there's even this guarantee in the constitution...it's supposed to make each witness think about what they are going to say in front of the person they are accusing and it is to allow the defense a vigorous cross-examination of each witness that would accuse him of any crime (especially children like the case in Craig). I expect this decision will be overturned on appeal by either state court, as it should be. The constitution says nothing about the rights of the victim...the protections are for the person whose life is about to be put on trial.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.