State v. Foster: Washington State Undermines Confrontation Rights to Protect Child Witnesses

Troy Fuhriman, State v. Foster: Washington State Undermines Confrontation Rights to Protect Child Witnesses, 36 Gonz. L. Rev. 7 (2001).

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In Kirby v. United States,[1] the United States Supreme Court declared the right to confrontation as

[o]ne of the fundamental guarantees of life and liberty… long deemed so essential for the due protection of life and liberty that it is guarded against legislative and judicial action by provisions in the Constitution of the United States and in the constitutions of most if not all of the States composing the Union.[2]

When the Court penned this statement in 1899, the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause did not apply to the states. Indeed, it did not fully apply to the states until 1965.[3] Since 1965, application of the Confrontation Clause to the states went through various stages.[4] Yet, until 1990, the key purposes of the federal clause remained and “‘guaranteed the defendant a face-to-face meeting with witnesses appearing before the trier of fact’ and to permit the jury to observe the credibility of witnesses.[5]… Read More

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