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The Rights of the Accused during Trial - Witnesses And The Right Of Confrontation

court child defendant amendment

The Sixth Amendment directs that the accused must "be confronted with the witnesses against him" and must "have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor." The first of these provisions, often called the right of confrontation, is closely tied with another Sixth Amendment right, that of being informed of the accusation. It means that any witness whose testimony plays a part in the prosecution's case must personally appear in court, so that the defendant can hear from that person's mouth the evidence against him.

There may be exceptions, of course, as when a witness has died before the case goes to court. Likewise a number of Supreme Court cases such as Coy v. Iowa (1988) and Maryland v. Craig (1990) have addressed cases of child abuse in which the accuser is a minor, and in which the child's advocates claim that the child's appearance in court would compound the psychological damage already incurred in the alleged abuse.

The second of the provisions mentioned above means that the defense has the right to require that anyone who can testify in favor of the accused must appear in court. Allied with this is the idea that the defendant may present any evidence that he may reasonably use in aid of his case.

The Rights of the Accused during Trial - Trial By Jury And Other Rights [next] [back] The Rights of the Accused during Trial - The Right To Counsel

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