This second of a two-part series on attorney questioning of children provides guidelines attorneys may use in posing optimal questions to the child witness to minimize the risk of eliciting erroneous information.
This material notes that the courtroom setting is radically different from where other adult-child conversations occur, thus making courtroom testimony especially difficult for children. In an often adversarial system of justice, children may be asked to provide details about negative, emotionally taxing experiences in a room filled with strangers and the accused person. Due to the stress and complexity of the courtroom, children may rely on the structure of attorneys’ questions to guide the conversation; however, research demonstrates most questioning conducted by both prosecutors and defense attorneys is linguistically complex and unfamiliar to the conversational and linguistic abilities of children. This instruction material provides guidelines attorneys may use for posing optimal questions to the child witness to minimize the risk of eliciting erroneous information from a child.