Virtual Confrontation: Is Videoconference Testimony by an Unavailable Witness Constitutional?
Matthew J. Tokson
June 11, 2007
University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 4, 2007
Because United States courts have no subpoena power over foreign witnesses, securing their in-person testimony in criminal cases presents prosecutors with serious difficulties. Video conferencing technology may offer a creative solution to this problem. However, defendants have often challenged video testimony on constitutional grounds, arguing that its use in court violates their Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses testifying against them. Courts have split over the constitutional status of video testimony, and as a result its legality remains highly uncertain. This Comment resolves the split by analyzing the history, purpose, and jurisprudence of the Confrontation Clause right and identifying the constitutional standards that must apply to video testimony. Analyzing foreign and domestic deposition procedures, the Comment identifies numerous situations where allowing video testimony serves an important public policy and is constitutionally permissible.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Confrontation, Confrontation Clause, Sixth Amendment, Video, Videoconference, TestimonyAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 24, 2008
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