Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2174482
 


 



Sacrificing the Child to Convict the Defendant: Secondary Traumatization of Child Witnesses by Prosecutors, Their Inherent Conflict of Interest, and the Need for Child Witness Counsel


Tanya Asim Cooper


University of Alabama - School of Law

2011

Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal, Vol. 9, Page 239, 2011
U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2174482

Abstract:     
In criminal cases, prosecutors often compound the trauma child witnesses endure. That secondary traumatization — the intimidation and disregard of child witnesses by authorities — threatens the integrity of the entire criminal justice system. While unfortunate, perhaps secondary traumatization of child witnesses by prosecutors is inevitable because prosecutors have multiple duties to juggle besides attending to the child. Prosecutors must protect society and even respect the rights of the accused. Fulfilling these other prosecutorial duties might conflict with the needs and wishes of the child witnesses. Because prosecutors have multiple roles and responsibilities, which they interpret differently, and because the Supreme Court has recently made prosecuting crimes against children more difficult, the potential for prosecutors to mistreat their complaining child witnesses, even unwittingly, has increased. To combat this problem, child witnesses need lawyers. The need for independent counsel with clearly defined roles for representing child witnesses in criminal cases is timely, and for children’s rights advocates, it is the “next frontier.”

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: Child witness, prosecutors, ethics, criminal law, child victim, testimony, guardian ad litem, children’s rights

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Date posted: November 14, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Cooper, Tanya Asim, Sacrificing the Child to Convict the Defendant: Secondary Traumatization of Child Witnesses by Prosecutors, Their Inherent Conflict of Interest, and the Need for Child Witness Counsel (2011). Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal, Vol. 9, Page 239, 2011; U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2174482. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2174482

Contact Information

Tanya Cooper (Contact Author)
University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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