Cross-examining a child witness is a very delicate process, especially in a sex crime case. Unlike adult witnesses, children are subject to being coached or coerced, even without their knowledge, in advance of appearing on the stand.
One common tactic used by many attorneys is asking leading questions. Although this can be effective with some adult witnesses, children do not always respond positively—or at all—to this technique.
Rather than jumping right in to the testimony and leading the child to answer questions in a certain way, it is often more effective to begin by having a conversation with the child on the stand to help him or her feel more comfortable.
It is important that the defense attorney takes the time to get to know as much as possible about the child: from his or her family history to favorite activities. Understanding the child will help the attorney build a better rapport with the child and get to the truth of the matter.
Taint occurs when a child’s testimony is impacted (or tainted) by an interview that is not properly conducted. If Child Protective Services (CPS) or a psychologist interviews the child in a way that either coaches or coerces him or her into “remembering” events that did not happen, the defense must work to attack the interview process in order to challenge the testimony.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime against a child, it is important to have an experienced defense attorney to fight for you during these complicated proceedings. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today to schedule a free and confidential review of your case.
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