Jack, AL asked in Criminal Law and Sexual Harassment for Alabama

Q: Will my child be required to testify in court in a sexual abuse case he is 4. He did an interview with dhr.

1 Lawyer Answer
Travis T Juneau
Travis T Juneau
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: Children under 12 do not have to testify in sexual offense criminal cases see Section 15-25-31 of the Code or Alabama. It says "An out-of-court statement made by a child under 12 years of age at the time the statement is made concerning an act that is a material element of any crime involving child physical offense, sexual offense, and exploitation, as defined in Section 15-25-39, which statement is not otherwise admissible in evidence, is admissible in evidence in criminal proceedings, if the requirements of Section 15-25-32 are met."

The requirements of 15-25-32 are

(1) The child testifies at the proceeding, or testifies by means of video tape deposition as provided by Section 15-25-2, or testifies by means of closed circuit television as is provided in Section 15-25-3, and at the time of such testimony is subject to cross-examination about the out-of-court statements; or


a. The child is found by the court to be unavailable to testify on any of these grounds:

1. The child's death;

2. The court finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant or someone acting on behalf of the defendant has intentionally removed the child from the jurisdiction of the court;

3. The child's total failure of memory;

4. The child's physical or mental disability;

5. The child's incompetency, including the child's inability to communicate about the offense because of fear or a similar reason; or

6. Substantial likelihood that the child would suffer severe emotional trauma from testifying at the proceeding or by means of closed circuit television; and

b. The child's out-of-court statement is shown to the reasonable satisfaction of the court to possess particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.