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Lindquist’s take on the dumb 9th Circuit decision

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Dec. 29, 2009 at 8:00 pm with 4 Comments »
December 30, 2009 2:55 pm

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist put us on to the Ninth Circuit ruling I wrote about in the post below (I hope I was scathing enough). Here is the opinion, which mandates court orders before CPS can question children at school about possible abuse. And here is Lindquist’s opinion of the opinion:

As long as this case remains the law, it will seriously handicap investigations where there is a child witness or victim. This case is the worst of both worlds. One, it will handicap investigations in cases where there was abuse and the child is not safe. Two, it will handicap those investigations where abuse is wrongly suspected, e.g. turns out the child got the black eye from rough-housing with his brother.

In some cases there will be probable cause for a court order to interview the child, but in many cases there will not yet be probable cause, and therefore the most important witness, the child, may not be interviewed. This is an obvious blow to the truth-seeking process.

Furthermore, this case will handicap other investigations that are not child abuse. For example, I was at the office well past midnight on Monday night working with a deputy prosecutor on a court order so officers could interview a 16-year-old girl who was a witness to the David Crable shooting. In that case, fortunately, we had probable cause so the officers were able to interview the girl, though the interview was delayed.

I am hoping the Ninth Circuit will rethink this case, or the Supreme Court will reverse the Ninth, as they have many times before.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Tell me again why it’s a good idea to have one less judge right now?

    This sounds like a nightmare. I hope for a swift appeal.

  2. derekyoung says:

    jenyum, the 9th Circuit is a Federal Court of Appeals.

  3. “Furthermore, this case will handicap other investigations that are not child abuse.” Operative statement and real intent here.

  4. Derekyoung: you need a court order to interview a child. That order would come from a local judge, not the federal courts.

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