2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 42 - JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
Chapter 59 - Depositions and Witnesses
5986 - Hearsay.
§ 5986. Hearsay. (a) General rule.--A statement made by a child describing acts and attempted acts of indecent contact, sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse performed with or on the child by another, not otherwise admissible by statute or court ruling, is admissible in evidence in a dependency proceeding initiated under Chapter 63 (relating to juvenile matters), involving that child or other members of that child's family, if: (1) the court finds, in an in camera hearing, that the evidence is relevant and that the time, content and circumstances of the statement provide sufficient indicia of reliability; and (2) the child either: (i) testifies at the proceeding; or (ii) is found by the court to be unavailable as a witness. (b) Emotional distress.--In order to make a finding under subsection (a)(2)(ii) that the child is unavailable as a witness, the court must determine, based on evidence presented to it, that testimony by the child as a witness will result in the child suffering serious emotional distress that would substantially impair the child's ability to reasonably communicate. In making this determination, the court may do all of the following: (1) Observe and question the child, 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 in a medical or therapeutic setting. (c) Counsel and confrontation.--If the court hears testimony in connection with making a finding under subsection (a)(2)(ii), all of the following apply: (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the defendant, the attorney for the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth have the right to be present. (2) If the court observes or questions the child, the court shall not permit the defendant to be present. (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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