and victims are generally permitted to testify using these means but several rules apply.259 The
witness must be able to see the defendant’s face during the testimony and vice versa.260 When only
videotaped testimonies are used and the witness will not testify in the actual trial, the defendant is
nonetheless allowed to submit cross-examination questions for the witness to answer through
another video recording.261
D. Leading Questions
While there is a wealth of research in psychology regarding the suggestibility of individuals
using leading questions, case law has demonstrated the necessity of this practice. Child victims of
sexual abuse, especially younger victims, should be allowed to receive leading questions for the
following reasons: ( 1) they do not use the medically appropriate or adult vocabulary for describing
body parts or sexual acts;262 ( 2) they are easily distracted and lose focus; and ( 3) they have
difficulty understanding adults, especially in stressful situations.263
Suggestion three is taken directly from the state of Alabama’s leading questions statute264
and Florida’s appropriate questioning provision,265 considered to be the most ideal in this analysis:
The court may use its discretion in allowing leading questions in any trial with a
victim or witness under the age of 10. Furthermore, the court shall be permitted to
limit the scope, extent, and repetition of such questions upon consideration of the
witness’ age and understanding.
Leading questions must be simple and short to avoid confusing the witness and producing
inaccurate answers.266 Children must be made aware, prior to testifying, that they are allowed to
say “I don’t know” to any questions about which they are unsure. Without being given this
instruction, children are more likely to make up an answer when asked a confusing question.267
In addition to permitting leading questions, courtroom actors should use developmentally
appropriate questions based on the child’s age and level of understanding. Only recently have
states begun to incorporate this caveat into child testimony statutes to prevent difficult defense
attorneys from taking advantage of children while testifying.268
E. Allowing the Presence of Support Persons
Support persons are currently allowed by federal statute as an “adult attendant,”269 in
twenty-three state statutes, and governed by case law in twenty states. Eight state statutes require
262Burrows & Powell, supra note 224, at 298.
263Berliner & Barbieri, supra note 92, at 132.
264 ALA. CODE § 15-25-1 (2015).
265 FLA. STAT. ANN. § 90.612 (West 2015).
266Saywitz et al., supra note 4, at 367.
267Id. at 361.
268HALL & SALES, supra note 15, at 26.
26918 U.S.C. § 3509 (2012).