Is there a right to confront an accuser who is a child?
US Supreme Court To Hear Case About the Admissibility of a Child’s Statement about AB- Use as Evidence in a Criminal Charge
What happens if the only witness is a child?
In representing clients charged with the physical or sexual abuse of children a frequent issue is whether the child’s statements to police, parents, teachers, therapists, or other individuals can come into evidence to prove the prosecutor’s case. Of course, prosecutors always seek to have this evidence admitted. A fearless, experienced criminal defense attorney will fight to keep this evidence out of court because it tends to lack credibility and be highly susceptible to misinterpretation and dishonesty.
During the new term of the United States Supreme Court, it has agreed to hear the case of Ohio v Clark. This case involves the issues of whether a person’s obligation to report suspected child abuse makes that person an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause, and whether a child’s out of court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher’s concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause.
Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment
The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” Generally, the right is to have a face-to-face confrontation with witnesses who are offering testimonial evidence against the accused in the form of cross-examination during a trial. The Fourteenth Amendment makes the right to confrontation applicable to the states and not just the federal government. The right only applies to criminal prosecutions, not civil cases or other proceedings.
The historical significance of the Confrontation Clause has its roots in both English common law, protecting the right of cross-examination, and Roman law, which guaranteed persons accused of a crime the right to look their accusers in the eye.
Ohio v Clark has substantial constitutional significance. This decision could drastically change how people are prosecuted in the United States and expand the list of people that prosecutors are obligated to produce as witnesses in a criminal case
There is no date set for hearing as of now.
Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers – Using the Constitution to Defend Your Rights
If you are facing federal or state criminal charges, it is imperative that you have expert legal representation to provide you with the protection you need. The prosecution has, essentially, unlimited resources and to face that “legal machine” without a recognized expert criminal defense attorney is just simply foolish. You would be walking into a lion’s den without a weapon. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are criminal defense specialists. They have decades of experience and are respected and recognized as expert criminal defense lawyers and will fearlessly fight for your rights.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.