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The Champion

September/October 2010 , Page 53 

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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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