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Criminal Procedure

Admissibility

2011

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"Sweet Childish Days": Using Developmental Psychology Research In Evaluating The Admissibility Of Out-Of-Court Statements By Young Children, Lynn Mclain Jan 2011

"Sweet Childish Days": Using Developmental Psychology Research In Evaluating The Admissibility Of Out-Of-Court Statements By Young Children, Lynn Mclain

All Faculty Scholarship

A three-year-old child, while being bathed by her babysitter, innocently mentions that her “pee-pee” hurts. When the babysitter asks the child how she hurt it, she says, “Uncle Ernie (her mother’s boyfriend) told me not to tell.” A subsequent medical examination reveals that the child has gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.

By the time of trial, the child is four and-a-half-years old. When questioned by the trial judge, she cannot explain to the judge’s satisfaction, “the difference between the truth and a lie.” Moreover, she has no long term memory of the incident. The judge rules the child ...