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Friend of the Court
By Jack King
Brady and Confrontation Clause at Play in Amicus Curiae Briefs
NACDL’s Amicus Curiae Committee recently filed briefs in 10 cases,
including two that will be argued this fall. In the two cases, the
Supreme Court is asked to determine if certain statements are
testimonial or nontestimonial.
The issue in one closely watched case, Allshouse v. Pennsylvania, is the
admissibility of statements taken from a four-year-old by a Children
and Youth Services investigator. NACDL argues in its brief that
statements to a child protective services agent interviewing a child as
part of a team response to a charge of child abuse constitute
testimonial hearsay and should be within the reach of the Confrontation
Clause guarantee. Recognizing such interviews as testimonial, the brief
states, will not prevent children’s voices from being heard in the
courtroom. There are options available, including one-way closed circuit
television, to ensure child complainants have their claims hea
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