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.)

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