Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2002

Abstract

The adjudication of child abuse claims poses an excruciatingly difficult conundrum. The crime is a terrible one, but false convictions are abhorrent. Often the evidence does not support a finding of guilt or innocence with sufficient clarity to allow a decision free of gnawing doubt. In many cases, a large part of the problem is that the prosecution's case depends critically on the statement or testimony of a young child. Even with respect to adult witnesses, the law of hearsay and confrontation is very perplexing, as anyone who has studied American evidentiary law and read Supreme Court opinions on the subject knows. Juxtaposing problems of hearsay and confrontation with those of child sexual abuse yields one of the most intractable problems that a system of criminal justice can face.


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