Feb. 25, 2013
“The 99 guilty verdicts against (Bob) Kelly appear to have set a benchmark for such cases: that youthful witnesses can have enough credibility to win convictions on their word alone.
“‘This validated child witness testimony,’ said Carolyn McAllaster, who teaches a child advocacy clinic at Duke University’s law school and trial practice at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
“‘I think the reason a lot of prosecutors hesitate to take these cases is they fear these children won’t be believed by juries,’ she said. ‘They should give a child’s testimony the same weight they would give an adult’s testimony. I think that children are very believable and that their testimony can be judged on its own merits.’ ”
– From “Rascals verdict affirms children’s credibility” in the Raleigh News & Observer (April 26, 1992)
McAllaster has gone on to become director of the AIDS Legal Project and a clinical professor of law at Duke.
Has she changed her mind about the credibility of child witnesses?
I asked her.
She hasn’t responded.