State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_15A > GS_15A-1225_1

§ 15A‑1225.1.  Childwitnesses; remote testimony.

(a)        Definitions:

(1)        Child. – For thepurposes of this section, a minor who is under the age of 16 years old at thetime of the testimony.

(2)        Criminal proceeding.– Any hearing or trial in a prosecution of a person charged with violating acriminal law of this State, and any hearing or proceeding conducted underSubchapter II of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes where a juvenile is allegedto have committed an offense that would be a criminal offense if committed byan adult.

(3)        Remote testimony. – Amethod by which a child witness testifies in a criminal proceeding outside ofthe physical presence of the defendant.

(b)        Remote TestimonyAuthorized. – In a criminal proceeding, a child witness who has been foundcompetent to testify may testify, under oath or affirmation, other than in anopen forum when the court determines:

(1)        That the childwitness would suffer serious emotional distress, not by the open forum ingeneral, but by testifying in the defendant's presence, and

(2)        That the child'sability to communicate with the trier of fact would be impaired.

(c)        Hearing Procedure.– Upon motion of a party or the court's own motion, and for good cause shown,the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether to allowremote testimony. Hearings in the superior court division, and hearingsconducted under Subchapter II of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes, shall berecorded. The presence of the child witness is not required at the hearingunless ordered by the presiding judge.

(d)        Order. – An orderallowing or disallowing the use of remote testimony shall state the findings offact and conclusions of law that support the court's determination. An orderallowing the use of remote testimony shall do the following:

(1)        State the method bywhich the child is to testify.

(2)        List any individualor category of individuals allowed to be in, or required to be excluded from,the presence of the child during the testimony.

(3)        State any specialconditions necessary to facilitate the cross‑examination of the child.

(4)        State any conditionor limitation upon the participation of individuals in the child's presenceduring his or her testimony.

(5)        State any othercondition necessary for taking or presenting the testimony.

(e)        Testimony. – Themethod used for remote testimony shall allow the judge, jury, and defendant orjuvenile respondent to observe the demeanor of the child as the child testifiesin a similar manner as if the child were in the open forum. The court shallensure that the defense counsel, except a pro se defendant, is physicallypresent where the child testifies, has a full and fair opportunity for cross‑examinationof the child witness, and has the ability to communicate privately with thedefendant or juvenile respondent during the remote testimony. Nothing in thissection shall be construed to limit the provisions of G.S. 15A‑1225.

(f)         NonexclusiveProcedure and Standard. – Nothing in this section shall:

(1)        Prohibit the use orapplication of any other method or procedure authorized or required by statute,common law, or rule for the introduction into evidence of the statements ortestimony of a child in a criminal or noncriminal proceeding.

(2)        Be construed torequire a court, in noncriminal proceedings, to apply the standard set forth insubsection (b) of this section, or to deviate from a standard or standardsauthorized by statute, common law, or rule, for allowing the use of remotetestimony in noncriminal proceedings.

(g)        This section doesnot apply if the defendant is an attorney pro se, unless the defendant has acourt‑appointed attorney assisting the defendant in the defense, in whichcase only the court‑appointed attorney shall be permitted in the roomwith the child during the child's testimony.  (2009‑356, s. 1.)