2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 42 - JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
Chapter 59 - Depositions and Witnesses
5985 - Testimony by contemporaneous alternative method.
§ 5985. Testimony by contemporaneous alternative method. (a) Contemporaneous alternative method.--Subject to subsection (a.1), in any prosecution or adjudication involving a child victim or a child material witness, the court may order that the testimony of the child victim or child material witness be taken under oath or affirmation in a room other than the courtroom and transmitted by a contemporaneous alternative method. Only the attorneys for the defendant and for the Commonwealth, the court reporter, the judge, persons necessary to operate the equipment 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 his 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 cannot hear or see the defendant. The court shall make certain that the defendant and defense counsel have adequate opportunity to communicate for the purposes of providing an effective defense. Examination and cross-examination of the child victim or child material witness shall proceed in the same manner as normally permitted. (a.1) Determination.--Before the court orders the child victim or the child material witness to testify by a contemporaneous alternative method, 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 all 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. (a.2) Counsel and confrontation.-- (1) If the court observes or questions the child victim or child material witness under subsection (a.1)(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 (a.1)(2), the defendant, the attorney for the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth have the right to be present. (b) 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.)
Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Pennsylvania may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.