Proposal on Children's Testimony Headed for Win

By Martha Shirk Of the Post-Dispatch This article contains material from The . | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 9, 1994 | Go to article overview

Proposal on Children's Testimony Headed for Win


Martha Shirk Of the Post-Dispatch This article contains material from The ., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Illinois voters on Tuesday appeared ready to permit victims of child abuse to testify on closed-circuit television and avoid face-to-face courtroom confrontation with their abusers.

With 63 percent of the precincts reporting, a constitutional amendment to permit televised testimony in criminal cases involving child victims was passing, 62 percent to 38 percent.

At the behest of their legislators, voters also were supporting a constitutional amendment aimed at forcing the Legislature to adjourn earlier. With 63 percent of the precincts reporting, the amendment was passing, 68 percent to 32 percent.

To pass, each proposal needs support from either three-fifths of the people voting on it or a simple majority of all voters casting ballots Tuesday. Both proposals appeared likely to meet either test.

The constitutional amendment on testimony would delete from the constitution a criminal defendant's right to "meet the witnesses face to face," and replace it with a right "to be confronted" by witnesses. Such a change would permit victims to give testimony on closed-circuit television.

Illiniois legislators sought the amendment after the Illinois Supreme Court declared earlier this year, in a child-abuse case, that Illinois' constitution required that witnesses face defendants in open court. The court struck down a law, passed in 1992, that permitted testimony by closed-circuit television. …

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