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Child victim of sex assault - CAN Defense force testimony? Login/Join 
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I have Agg Sex Assault of a child case next thursday. I do not intend to call my victim. Can the defense force the child to testify, if they call the child as a witness?

Katherine McAnally
 
Posts: 30 | Location: burnet, texas | Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Duh.....
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Georgetown (WILLIAMSON) | Registered: October 19, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I tried to email you some, hopefully, constructive ideas. Unfortunately, the email (from my state email address) to the address listed on your profile came back.

sorry--
 
Posts: 107 | Location: Wichita Falls, TX | Registered: February 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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JB sand Williamson County please dont be rude when people ask for help.Not everyone has as much experience as you have and I have had help from Jane Starnes at your office.That is why this site is so helpful for those of us in small jurisdictions.We need contact with you guys.

Dont know what problems you have but my stongest evidence has always been the child's testimony.I think the Jury expects that testimony and the system works well.Started out doing the video with the child in the other courtroom but also find that is not as effective as having them testify. It's always nervewracking but worth it when the child describes her nightmare before 12 very concerned adults. Feel free to email if you need help.
 
Posts: 334 | Location: Beeville, Texas., USA | Registered: September 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you for the advice Martha! I had already filed the request to have the testimony presented through CCTV. In fact, we set up doing this via laptops and Skype. It actually looked like it would work really well. I had poured over CCP 38.071 and the related case law and determined that this was the only available option. Obviously, I would prefer a live victim in the courtroom. However, I had a parent that adamantly refused to allow the child to do anything other than meet with the judge in chambers. I knew I had a constitutional problem. I only asked the posted question to be sure that I wasn't missing some creative solution or caselaw that allowed something else.
And yes, I really appreciate the help of those who have been doing this a long time!!!For those of us in small offices, the assistance of others in the state is invaluable!! This was my first felony trial! And of course, it would be an Agg Sex Assault of a Child with a non-cooperative victim parent and an 11 year old defendant with prior sex offenses.
BTW, I called the defense attorneys bluff. I had the technology ready to go and he didn't call the victim. In fact, after my case in chief he decided not to put his defendant on the stand and presented no evidence. I got a guilty (to be perfectly correct; TRUE) so it turned out well!

Katherine McAnally
 
Posts: 30 | Location: burnet, texas | Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think we as rural prosecutors with very little resources are always needing to be creative. I really appreciate Versel and Martha's support as well. Maybe we could have a conference geared toward rural prosecution of sexual assault of children!
 
Posts: 131 | Location: Hondo, Texas | Registered: November 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sara, I agree, as rural prosecutors we have no intake division, no appelate division, no sexual asault division, no drug enforcement division, no civil/seizure division, etc. . . . we do it all. Why not a conference geared toward rural prosecution?
 
Posts: 62 | Location: Dumas, Texas | Registered: November 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree TS. When I go to some of these conferences, they seemed to be geared toward counties that have resources that are unavailable to us because of financial reasons. Most of Texas is considered rural and I just dont think someone in Houston, Austin or Plano is going to understand the problems that arise in our counties.
 
Posts: 131 | Location: Hondo, Texas | Registered: November 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would definitely attend a rural prosecutors' conference. I'd make my investigators, appellate lawyers, intake division, forfeiture division, civil staff, sex crime lawyers, stay back at the office . . . (oh yeah, I forgot -- I don't have any of those.)
 
Posts: 20 | Location: Palo Pinto, TX USA | Registered: March 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good luck with your case and I think you have been given some really good advice. I would also love to see a rural prosecutor course!
 
Posts: 7 | Location: Woodville, TX USA | Registered: January 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hope no one on here is ever intimidated to the point of failing to ask the "stupid" question. I have been blessed to have a bevy of experienced attorneys from whom to draw knowledge, during my, what is now (officially) 30 years of experience as a lawyer. I didn't come into the job knowing everything, and still don't. This forum is an excellent resource, from which I learn much. Some of the "duh" questions are the ones that carry the most weight. I have been surprised to find that maybe I don't know as much as I think I know when I run across them.

And gosh, it's good to see people who are willing to admit they are still students of the law.

If anyone reads this and has a question, please feel free to email me if you don't feel like you can post in here. I may not know everythign, and the oldeer I get the slower my file retrieval system operates. If I don't know - I will try and help you find out.

We are, after all, in this together.
 
Posts: 218 | Location: The Border | Registered: April 08, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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LRM is not with the DA's Office. He's a defense attorney. I agree with Martha and the others who commented that no one should be afraid of asking a "stupid question" on this forum. That's what we're here for.
 
Posts: 514 | Location: austin, tx, usa | Registered: July 02, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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LRM works with me part time. His post was a response to a slightly snippy post from someone else. He was intending to stick up for me. The original response to my post has since been deleted. That's why his response seems rude. He in fact helped me talk through a number of issues on this trial.

Katherine McAnally
 
Posts: 30 | Location: burnet, texas | Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There used to be a rural prosecutor's forum at the annual meeting where we discussed any matters of interest to the group. I think a training track geared toward rural prosecutors at that meeting, or some other, is an excellent idea. Might be nice to get some training from a prosecutor who faces the same unique conditions we see here in the sticks. Anybody there at TDCAA training listening?
 
Posts: 14 | Location: Decatur, Texas, USA | Registered: January 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We certainly have heard y'all and will continue to hold the rural prosecutor forum at every annual. We also continue to bring regional trainings to more rural areas and are working on electronic trainings that you'll be able to download from our website. I also talked to several people about this very thread last week as a method of furthering training for our more rural folks.
Plus, this forum is a great way to disseminate ideas between each other, and we'll see more articles in the Prosecutor discussing this and many other issues soon. So keep the ideas flowing people. We are always here to listen.
 
Posts: 30 | Location: austin, tx, usa | Registered: January 10, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't think I have ever posted a questions that didn't make me feel stupid.....and I have almost 20 years in!!!! Thank god for folks that have felt the same way and graciously answer my questions with kindness and compassion. And I really appreciate knowing that the "duh" response was not someone being rude. I was ready to fire up my tractor and drive to the big city to kick some ***. Thanks to all that have helped me and for the youngsters, keep asking those "stupid" questions. That is how you learn.
 
Posts: 99 | Location: Nacogdoches, Texas, USA | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Eric, I dont think the problem is you bringing speakers to the rural areas for training. The problem is the perspective that your trainers come from. For instance in the child abuse training in the past few years, your speakers have been very educational but unrealistic as to taking it back to my county and applying what they did. They have resources that rural poorer counties just will never have.

I think the divide couldn't be more apparent when some of us try to utilize case law to our advantage and the urban prosecutors tell me not to risk a reversal. Well they don't understand that we WILL get a not guilty here if we don't roll the dice. Most of the time the speakers at these forums talk about the utiization of a crimes against children's units in police or sheriff's office, victim assistance personnel in their office who are licensed psychologists, pediatric hospitals at their disposal, kids court and the examples can go on and on.

All the above resources are wonderful tools if you have them; however, most of us do not. And encouraging us to start these resources in our communities is a wonderful thought although somewhat utopian in the realities of the economy at the moment. This is why we would like specialized tracks for the rural prosecutors taught by people who are from rural counties. Thanks for all you do.
 
Posts: 131 | Location: Hondo, Texas | Registered: November 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In the rural counties sometimes using skype or laptops might not be the most feasible idea. Your quality of video and audio signal will depend on your internet link.

Try using a simple video camera with a long RCA cord to a television in your courtroom. Most cameras have a microphone jack to enhance your sound, and your court reporter will probably prefer you using her (his?) microphone.

We did this once back in Gainesville and it worked really well. The court room we were in was next door to another. We set up my video camera on a tri pod in the second jury room, and I ran the cord next door to a large TV on a cart in front of the jury.

The cord costs typically less than 20 dollars. You can use whatever television your courtroom already has.

You don't have to worry about internet connections, websites working, anything like that. The video camera has a broader picture of the room which allows for body language viewing rather than the small pin camera on a laptop showing just the face.

And yes, the defense has just as much right to call any witness, regardless of age, as the State. If you have questions, Jane Starnes (in WilCo) is the go to person. Also, Lisa Tanner at the AG's office was the trial prosecutor in the situation I'm remembering. She'll have insight into the best way to procedurally address the court on the set up.
 
Posts: 764 | Location: Dallas, Texas | Registered: November 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Exellent point, Sara. While I value the expertise of the Dallas - Fort Worth - San Antonio - Houston trainers, I would be willing to bet none of them have ever faced a jury panel on voir dire which includes a first cousin of the prosecutor, his or her third grade teacher, a husband and wife or some other combination of small town relationship. Not that those relationships don't exist in the big cities but I would bet that the chances of having such a person on a jury panel is pretty rare. Just one example of a situation a rural prosecutor might be able to speak to that our big city brothers and sisters might not think about. Small town cases also tend to get more publicity as a general matter in the otherwise routine cases. The press is sitting in the gallery at every jury trial we try for the entire trial.
 
Posts: 14 | Location: Decatur, Texas, USA | Registered: January 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I empathize with y'all's dilemma in rural counties, and I appreciate completely that you are all doing the best with what you have. We do try to accommodate speakers from many jurisdictions, backgrounds, etc. for our talks so it's not simply a metropolitan viewpoint, or a lawyer viewpoint (team training with investigators/VAC's/Key, etc.) or other .
But also realize that we are trying to train a membership of over 6000+ and have had our budget drastically reduced, as well. Therefore, we have to try and get the "most bang for our buck" so to speak, and can't always split tracks between metropolitan and urban, or misdemeanor and felony, or attorney and support staff, or criminal and civil, and so on.
Understanding that we do want to reach out to y'all in the rural areas and provide the training that you want and need, John Stride (our staff appellate attorney) and I have been discussing the idea of having three or four regionals next year dedicated to rural issues. It would be a morning of pretrial/procedure/trial issues and an afternoon of rural appellate issues.
If y'all could get me two or three solid issues that would be specific to rural entities and potential speakers on those topics, I'd be happy to get these regionals on the agenda ASAP and to a town near you. Let me know what you think.
 
Posts: 30 | Location: austin, tx, usa | Registered: January 10, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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