Summary of the Perfected Version of the Bill


COMMITTEE OF ORIGIN:  Special Committee on Family Services

This substitute establishes a children's bill of courtroom rights
that applies to all children testifying at a judicial proceeding.
In its main provisions, the substitute:

(1)  Assures a child the right to understand the oath
administered in court and requires the court to present the oath
in a developmentally appropriate manner;

(2)  Grants the child the right to understand all questions asked
of him or her;

(3)  Requires the court to allow the child to testify at a time
of day when the child is best able to understand the questions
asked of him or her and to allow frequent breaks from testifying;

(4)  Grants the child the right to have a comfort item that is
approved by the court, such as a blanket or stuffed animal, when

(5)  Grants the child the right to have a person present during
his or her testimony to provide emotional support.  The support
person must abide by the rules established by the court;

(6)  Requires the child to be questioned in a manner that is
neither intimidating nor frightening which includes disallowing
any attorney from raising his or her voice while questioning the
child or making an argument; and

(7)  Grants the child the right to be comfortable when testifying
by adjusting the courtroom layout, conducting the proceedings
outside of a courtroom, and relaxing the formalities of normal
courtroom proceedings.

FISCAL NOTE:  No impact on state funds in FY 2009, FY 2010, and
FY 2011.

Copyright (c) Missouri House of Representatives

Missouri House of Representatives
94th General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session
Last Updated October 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm