Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Child Testimony Via Closed-Circuit Testimony Upheld

Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Child Testimony Via Closed-Circuit Testimony Upheld

Article excerpt

The Virginia Court of Appeal upheld a Virginia statute that allows victims of child sexual abuse to offer trial testimony via closed-circuit television. In rejecting the defendant's Sixth Amendment challenge, the court noted the statute appropriately required a "case-specific" showing of necessity and that it met the requirements established by the U.S.

Supreme Court in Maryland v. Craig (1990) when it required the trial court to find that the child is unavailable to testify in open court in the presence of the defendant because the child refuses to testify, the child is unable to communicate, or there is a substantial likelihood that the child will suffer severe emotional trauma if the child testifies. The court added the statute actually went beyond the requirements in Craig because it provided for two-way closed-circuit television as opposed to the one-way closed-circuit testimony upheld in Craig.

Also, the court noted the trial court took the additional step of having the Commonwealth provide an independent psychological examination of the child prior to the court making its decision. …

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