Maryland v. Craig
497 U.S. 836 (1990)
The Supreme Court case of Maryland v. Craig was argued April 18, 1990 and decided on June 27, 1990. It originated on October 1986, when a Howard County grand jury charged Sandra Ann Craig with child abuse, first and second degree sexual offenses, perverted sexual practice, assault, and battery. The victim for each count was a six-year-old girl named Brooke Etze who had attended a kindergarten and prekindergarten center, owned and operated by Sandra Ann Craig.
Before the case went to trial, on March 1987, the State wanted to use a Maryland statutory procedure which allowed the judge, jury, and defendant to receive a one-way closed circuit television (CCTV) testimony from Brooke Etze. For this method of testimony to occur, the judge had to determine if the child’s presence in the courtroom would increase her suffering of emotional distress and make her unable to communicate reasonably. After careful consideration, the judge invoked the procedure and allowed for the child witness, prosecutor, and defense counsel to move to a separate room while the judge, jury and defendant remained in the courtroom. The child witness was then examined and cross-examined, in person, while those who remained in the courtroom were able to view everything through the CCTV system display. Sandra Ann Craig objected to the use of the one-way closed circuit television testimony because it breached the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, made applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right... to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” She believed that it was necessary for her to be face to face with Brooke Etze for the trial to be fair, otherwise “the defendant retains the essence of the right of confrontation” as well as the inability for the jury to view the demeanor of the witness during...
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