9-14-09 - Handout.State-v-Michaels

9-14-09 - Handout.State-v-Michaels - Tillers: Handout -...

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Tillers: Handout -- State v. Michaels only for student use p. 1 of 5 about State of New Jersey v. Michaels, 136 N.J. 299, 642 A.2d 1372 (1994) The New Jersey Supreme Court held that Kelly Michaels' conviction violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: This Court has a responsibility to ensure that evidence admitted at trial is sufficiently reliable so that it may be of use to the finder of fact who will draw the ultimate conclusions of guilt or innocence. That concern implicates principles of constitutional due process. "[R]eliability [is] the linchpin in determining admissibility" of evidence under a standard of fairness that is required by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. … Competent and reliable evidence remains at the foundation of a fair trial, which seeks ultimately to determine the truth about criminal culpability. If crucial inculpatory evidence is alleged to have been derived from unreliable sources due process interests are at risk. The Court said that in the future steps had to be taken to prevent a recurrence of what happened in State v. Michaels . It said that the in cases such as this the trial court should hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether the testimony of children may have been rendered unreliable by unduly suggestive pretrial questiong and pretrial influence: The pretrial hearing should be conducted pursuant to Evid.R. 104. The basic issue to be addressed at such a pretrial hearing is whether the pretrial events, the investigatory interviews and interrogations, were so suggestive that they give rise to a substantial likelihood of irreparably mistaken or false recollection of material facts bearing on defendant's guilt. The New Jersey Supreme Court held that if a defendant provides the trial court with "some evidence" that there is such a "substantial likelihood of irreparably mistaken or false recollection of material facts," before the child witness or witnesses can testify, the
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Tillers: Handout -- State v. Michaels only for student use p. 2 of 5 state must show by clear and convicing testimony that the proposed testimony of the child or children is nevertheless reliable. The Supreme Court of New Jersey explained these procedural requirements in the
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9-14-09 - Handout.State-v-Michaels - Tillers: Handout -...

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