2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 42 - JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
Chapter 59 - Depositions and Witnesses
5984.1 - Recorded testimony.
§ 5984.1. Recorded testimony. (a) Recording.--Subject to subsection (b), in any prosecution or adjudication involving a child victim or child material witness, the court may order that the child victim's or child material witness's testimony be recorded for presentation in court by any method that accurately captures and preserves the visual images, oral communications and other information presented during such testimony. The testimony shall be taken under oath or affirmation before the court in chambers or in a special facility designed for taking the recorded testimony of children. Only the attorneys for the defendant and for the Commonwealth, persons necessary to operate the equipment, a qualified shorthand reporter and any person whose presence would contribute to the welfare and well-being of the child victim or child material witness, including persons designated under section 5983 (relating to rights and services), may be present in the room with the child during testimony. The court shall permit the defendant to observe and hear the testimony of the child victim or child material witness but shall ensure that the child victim or material witness cannot hear or see the defendant. Examination and cross-examination of the child victim or child material witness shall proceed in the same manner as normally permitted. The court shall make certain that the defendant and defense counsel have adequate opportunity to communicate for the purpose of providing an effective defense. (b) Determination.--Before the court orders the child victim or the child material witness to testify by recorded testimony, the court must determine, based on evidence presented to it, that testifying either in an open forum in the presence and full view of the finder of fact or in the defendant's presence will result in the child victim or child material witness suffering serious emotional distress that would substantially impair the child victim's or child material witness's ability to reasonably communicate. In making this determination, the court may do any of the following: (1) Observe and question the child victim or child material witness, either inside or outside the courtroom. (2) Hear testimony of a parent or custodian or any other person, such as a person who has dealt with the child victim or child material witness in a medical or therapeutic setting. (c) Counsel and confrontation.-- (1) If the court observes or questions the child victim or child material witness under subsection (b)(1), the attorney for the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth have the right to be present, but the court shall not permit the defendant to be present. (2) If the court hears testimony under subsection (b)(2), the defendant, the attorney for the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth have the right to be present. (d) Effect of order.--(Deleted by amendment). (Dec. 18, 1996, P.L.1077, No.161, eff. 60 days; July 15, 2004, P.L.736, No.87, eff. imd.)
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