Children’s rights

This is in response to the editorial concerning whether the Supreme Court should protect children.

First, in the editorial, it is incorrectly stated that since the girl never testified at the trial she was not a witness for purposes of the Sixth Amendment. This is totally false. The confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment provides “the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”

The girl’s statements are being used against the defendant. Just because she is not physically present at the trial, does not eliminate her status as a witness, or as an accuser.

The legal argument is whether there is an important enough public policy reason to deny a face-to-face confrontation considering the reliability of the evidence; not whether she is a witness. See Craig v. Maryland, 110 S.Ct. 3157 (1990).

Second, it is stated in the editorial that since “minors don’t share in many of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution (for instance, the right to vote). It is not fair for them to be held accountable for a citizen’s responsibilities.”

These two statements are just devoid of any real meaning. It is the defendant’s constitutional rights that might have been violated. To say that this is a permissible simply because a child is involved makes no sense.

The question is not whether it is the girl’s responsibility to confront the defendant, but whether the defendant has a right to a face-to-face confrontation with the girl.

I do not debate whether the defendant was tried unfairly, I merely disagree with the editor’s remarks.

Chuck Rozhon

Second year

Law student