Child Bill of Rights Overshadowed by Death Penalty
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Child Bill of Rights Overshadowed by Death Penalty

Date: April 21, 2008
By: Stephanie Levy
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: A bill that would create a Children's Bill of Rights in court faced controversy from the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

Stephanie Levy (Lee-vee) has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:36
OutCue: SOC

Republican Senator Matt Bartle said the bill puts defendants at an unfair disadvantage.

Bartle also said lawyers in child abuse cases would have to be extremely careful if the legislature votes to extend the death penalty to child rapists.

Actuality:  BOR2.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: You've got a jury full of people who are going to, just by human nature, be predisposed to hold that lawyer to an extremely high standard, potentially.


While the committee has not set a date to vote on the Children's Bill of Rights, it did pass the death penalty bill later in Monday's hearing.

Reporting from the state captiol, I'm Stephanie Levy.


Intro: The Missouri Senate Judiciary committee heard testimony in favor of a Children's Bill of Rights that drew on the emotional experiences of kids in court.

Stephanie Levy has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:1:01
OutCue: SOC

Barbara Brown, Director of the Child Advocacy Center in Springfield, says she has worked with dozens of victims of sexual abuse.

One victim, called Ashley in Monday's hearing, was forced to testify against her abusive grandfather with no familiar faces in the courtroom but his own.

Actuality:  BOR4.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: She recalled when she looked at him, what he told her would happen if she testified, and her worst fears were coming true.


Now, a bill sponsored by Republican Representative Bob Dixon would allow children to have a parent or other adult comfort them while on the stand as part of a Children's Bill of Rights.

Dixon says the bill would create consistency in courtrooms and insure child safety.

But opponents of the bill, who testified for the first time on Monday, say the bill may cause more children to lie on the stand.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Matt Bartle says the bill has a good chance of passing before the end of the legislative session.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Stephanie Levy.


Intro: A bill that would create a Children's Bill of Rights in court faced controversy from the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

Stephanie Levy (Lee-vee) has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:36
OutCue: SOC

Republican Senator Matt Bartle said the bill puts defendants at an unfair disadvantage.

Bartle also said lawyers in child abuse cases would have to be extremely careful if the legislature votes to extend the death penalty to child rapists.

Actuality:  BOR2.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: You've got a jury full of people who are going to, just by human nature, be predisposed to hold that lawyer to an extremely high standard, potentially.


While the committee has not set a date to vote on the Children's Bill of Rights, it did pass the death penalty bill later in Monday's hearing.

Reporting from the state captiol, I'm Stephanie Levy.