Supreme Courts of Ohio and Iowa Rule That Pre-Trial Statements Made by a Child Are Generally Inadmissible at Trial If the Police Were Involved in Obtaining the Statements and the Defendant Has Not Had an Opportunity to Cross-Examine the Child; United States Supreme Court Declines to Review Rulings

By Hafemeister, Thomas L. | Developments in Mental Health Law, July 2008 | Go to article overview

Supreme Courts of Ohio and Iowa Rule That Pre-Trial Statements Made by a Child Are Generally Inadmissible at Trial If the Police Were Involved in Obtaining the Statements and the Defendant Has Not Had an Opportunity to Cross-Examine the Child; United States Supreme Court Declines to Review Rulings


Hafemeister, Thomas L., Developments in Mental Health Law


The Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause guarantees criminal defendants the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses who provide testimony against the defendant. This becomes an issue in criminal trials when victims or witnesses to a crime have previously made statements to someone (e.g., to a police officer or a health care provider) but are unavailable or unwilling to testify at trial. If this person's testimony is essential to the prosecution's case but inadmissible under the Confrontation Clause, the prosecution may not be able to meet the requirement that it prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The purpose of the Confrontation Clause and the right to cross-examine witnesses is to assure that the evidence introduced at trial is truthful and accurate by giving defendants an opportunity to test the veracity and reliability of a witness by (1) posing questions to the witness that challenge the witness' recall of events and (2) enabling the jury or judge to observe the demeanor of the witness while providing testimony.

In recent years, the courts have tended to carve out exceptions to this Sixth Amendment right to enable child witnesses to avoid providing trial testimony when it may be a traumatic experience for the child. In Maryland v. Craig, 497 U.S. 836, 840 (1990), the United States Supreme Court held that the Confrontation Clause does not "categorically prohibit[]" testimony via closed circuit television by a child victim of sexual abuse if in-court testimony would be traumatic for the child. The Court determined that this approach adequately ensured that the testimony was both reliable and subject to rigorous adversarial testing in a manner functionally equivalent to that accorded live, in-person testimony.

However, in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), the Supreme Court established that the test for determining whether out-of-court statements violate the Confrontation Clause is not whether they are reliable but, rather, whether they are "testimonial." Although not defined expressly, "testimonial" statements include statements "made under circumstances which would lead an objective witness reasonably to believe that the statement would be available for use at a later trial." Testimonial statements made by a person not testifying at trial are admissible (often via the recounting of a third party) only if the person making the statement is unavailable to provide testimony and the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine the person. Non-testimonial statements, however, are not subject to these prerequisites. The court in Crawford, however, gave little guidance to lower courts on how to distinguish testimonial statements from non-testimonial statements.

In two later cases, Davis v. Washington and Hammon v. Indiana, consolidated at 547 U.S. 813 (2006), the Supreme Court provided a more precise depiction of "testimonial" when it was asked to determine if statements made to a 911 operator were testimonial. The Court held that statements are non-testimonial (and thus admissible without providing the defendant an opportunity to cross-examine the person who made the statements) if they were made in the course of a police interrogation but the circumstances objectively indicated that the primary purpose of the questioning was to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. In contrast, statements are testimonial (and thus not admissible without permitting the defendant to "confront" the source of the statements) when the circumstances objectively indicate that there was not an ongoing emergency and the primary purpose of the questioning was to establish or prove past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.

It has been argued, however, that a special rule should be applied when a child has made the out-of-court statements, with the child's statements viewed as non-testimonial--even if an emergency did not exist--when the child because of his or her age and limited understanding of courts or trials could not reasonably expect that those statements may be used in a later proceeding. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supreme Courts of Ohio and Iowa Rule That Pre-Trial Statements Made by a Child Are Generally Inadmissible at Trial If the Police Were Involved in Obtaining the Statements and the Defendant Has Not Had an Opportunity to Cross-Examine the Child; United States Supreme Court Declines to Review Rulings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.