Childrens Testimony Essay

2621 words - 10 pages

Over the last thirty years, the idea of children as witnesses and the accuracy of their testimony has been widely debated. People are asking themselves if the memories of young children, specifically between the ages of five and ten, can be accurate and in return trusted. So, can children’s memory and testimony be accurate? Prolific amounts of research have been conducted in an attempt to answer this question. Most of the research suggests that unfortunately we can not rely on their accurate recall in testimony. I would have to say I agree with the findings.
     The current anxiety about the validity of children’s testimony in court stems mostly from heavily publicized cases of child molestation during the 1980’s (Meyer, 1997). As a result of society’s reaction to dramatic increases in reports of abuse and neglect, children increasingly are being admitted as witnesses in juvenile and criminal proceedings (Ceci & de Bruyn, 1993). Each year hundreds of thousands of children in North America become entangled in the legal system. Often these children testify about the alleged actions of a parent, teacher, baby-sitter, relative or neighbor. And when this happens, the case is often decided on the basis of the relative credibility of the child versus the defendant. Regardless of whether such testimony is made in forensic interviews, during preliminary hearings, or at trial, it may result in life altering decisions for all involved (Ceci & Bruck, 1995).
     The issue of children’s veracity is not new to the courtroom. There were cases in Puritan times in which youngsters’ testimony was responsible for the imprisonment and execution of a number of individuals accused of being witches (Meyer, 1997). Because of this, for both theoretical and practical reasons, many child psychologists, legal professionals, and others have long sought to understand more fully the extent to which young children are able to recall their experiences and to report on them accurately. As part of this effort, there has also been a great interest in learning more about the developmental course through which young children acquire the capacity (Stern, Stern, & Lamiell, 1999).
     To thoroughly understand the subject, we must look closely at several aspects and effects of children as witnesses in the legal system. First, we must look at the cognition of children. We have to understand their mental development and comprehension, as well as their memory and recall abilities. Second, we must look at the affects of being a witness not only on the legal system but also on the child as an individual. Children could be further traumatized emotionally and physically by involvement as a witness. Finally, we need to closely look at how the legal system is set up and how well children fit into this system. Are witness procedures set up in a way that children can understand and accurately give their...

Find Another Essay On Childrens Testimony

"My Place" - Sally Morgan(study notes) Australian Ab. Lit.

3651 words - 15 pages children. Prompted by the discovery of her Aboriginality she began writing her life story and the life stories of her uncle, Arthur Corunna, her mother, Gladys Corunna, and her grandmother, Daisy Corunna, stories which were published as My Place in 1987. The book was reprinted three times that year and the mass paperback edition four times in 1988 and 1989. Morgan has also published numerous childrens stories, an illustrated version of My Place

This is a guide for the students on how they should study To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

4245 words - 17 pages testimony during the trial. Harper Lee explains him as, "...a little bantam cock of a man [whom] rose and strutted to the stand, the back of his neck reddening at the sound of his name. When he turned around to take oath, we saw his face was as red as neck... a shock of wispy new-washed hair stood up from his forehead; his nose was thin, pointed and shiny; he had no chin to speak of - it seemed to be part of his crepey neck." The adjectives used

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub-plots in Hamlet

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras, and

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has on

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine

904 words - 4 pages The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine    The stories of Oedipus, as told through Seneca's Oedipus and Cocteau's The Infernal Machine, contain both similarites and differences. Both authors portray the character of Oedipus as being obstinate, ignorant, and inquisitive. Yet Seneca and Cocteau differ on their interpretation of the motives that propelled these characteristics of Oedipus. Seneca portrays Oedipus as a

Similar Essays

Eyewitness Error Essay

1178 words - 5 pages is not only affected during an observed event, but there are instances where memory can be influenced after an event as well. There are also instances where memory can be affected retroactively due to personal experiences and biases. Incorrectly recalling the memories of one’s life is usually not detrimental, but the flawed nature of long-term and short-term memory functions becomes a serious matter in regards to criminal eyewitness testimony

Children Essay

859 words - 3 pages because of the stress level. Which a lot of the time people try to reduce by putting the child behind a one way screen or video taping the childs testimony. Stephen J. Ceci has conducted research on whether children can be coached in their answers. He had a character named Sam stone visit a daycare center. Over the next ten weeks the children were interveiwed four times. The first time they were asked the simple question "Did sam do

Dred Scott Case Essay

1465 words - 6 pages unsuccessfully to buy his freedom. Then, in 1846 the Scotts filed a suit against Mrs. Emerson in the Circuit Court of St. Lois County (The Impending Crisis 1848 1861: David M. Potter 268) for their and their childrens’ freedom. Their attorney was Francis B. Murdoch. In the motion filed on April 6, in Dred’s name, it stated that Scott was “entitled to his freedom” (61) Murdoch filed two suits in St. Lois court, Dred Scott versus Irene Emerson and Harriet

China One Child Policy Essay

8201 words - 33 pages of Human Rights 19 Appendix II: Testimony for Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing 23 000166-XXX 4 Introduction China first implemented its 'One-Child Policy' on January 1st 1979. This evidently meant limiting every couple to having just one child (Population and Family Planning Law of the People's Republic of China). The policy was enforced by the Chinese communist government in reaction to the preceding Maoist era, as officials believed