44 The definition of “reasonable” is assumed to be at the discretion of the state or the
prosecuting attorney, as seen in West Virginia.
45 Florida and Ohio also include limitations on the
number of interviews for intellectually disabled victims and witnesses in their statutes.
46 Ohio sets
the age limit at twenty-one,
47 Florida removes the age restriction altogether along with directly
mentioning concern over psychological damage resulting from repeated interviews.
48 Due to
differences in maturity level of children and adolescents, state statutes should provide for limiting
interviews for any minor witnesses/victims.
The dearth of state statutes addressing this issue is surprising given the number of high
profile cases that have resulted from over-interviewing children ( i.e. the Little Rascals Day Care
49 An abundance of research has been conducted supporting the contention that children are
more suggestible than adults,
50 with suggestibility increasing as time passes between an abusive
incident and when the child is interviewed.
51 When asking a child the same question multiple
times, the child will eventually think that his or her answer is wrong and will, therefore, try and
figure out what the interviewer wants them to say.
52 The Little Rascals Day Care case is a notable
example of this behavior but it is not a rarity.
B. Speedy Trials
There is hardly any debate on the negative effects that court proceedings can have on a
child. Research is scarce on the topic of speedy trials in cases involving child witnesses or victims.
Federal legislation on this issue states that those cases be given “special public importance” and
that “the court shall…expedite the proceeding and ensure that it takes precedence over any other.
The court shall ensure a speedy trial in order to minimize the length of time the child must endure
the stress of involvement with the criminal process.”
54 It also provides that judges should consider
the age of the child and potential impact on the child’s well-being when presented with potential
44W. VA. CODE ANN. § 61-8B- 14 (West 2015).
45W. VA. CODE ANN. § 61-8C-5 (West 2015).
46OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 2151.421 (West 2015); FLA. STAT. ANN. § 914 (West 2015).
47OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 2151.421 (West 2015).
48FLA. STAT. ANN. § 914.16 (West 2015).
49CECI & BRUCK, supra note 6, at 121.
50Id. at 67.
51Id. at 74.
5318 U.S.C. § 3509 (2012).