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Current Practices in the Use of Televised Child Testimony: Questions of Constitutionality and Personal Biases

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 12 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2001 Pages: 282-294
Sharon Boland Hamill; Ernest S. Graham; Emmett Thomason III; Renee Huerta-Choy
Date Published
December 2001
13 pages
A survey of prosecutor’s offices focused on the current practices involving the use of televised testimony of child witnesses.
Seven hundred sixty-eight members or designates of the 2,828 members of the National District Attorneys Association in its 1992 directory completed questionnaires that assessed whether they had ever used televised child testimony and whether its use had led to an appeal. The survey asked participants who had never used televised testimony to indicate the reasons why they had chosen not to use it. Results suggested that televised testimony is not a common practice among participants in that only 17.1 percent of the participants used it. The use of such testimony led to an appeal 22.9 percent of the time. Participants who had never used this type of testimony reported that a variety of legal and practical restrictions, as well as their own personal beliefs, prevented them from doing so. The analysis concluded that future research should examine why some prosecutors opt to use televised testimony and should recognize the fundamental concern of how to protect defendants’ rights while also protecting juvenile witnesses. Tables and 23 references (Author abstract modified)