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United States v. Garcia

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
7 F.3d 865 (9th Cir. 1993)


Facts

Lorenzo Garcia (defendant) was charged with four counts of sexual abuse of his niece, a minor. The prosecution filed a motion to permit the victim to testify via closed circuit television, rather than in the courtroom, as was permitted under certain circumstances by federal law. The trial court held several hearings on the motion, in which two expert witnesses testified. The first, Delphine Clashin, a mental health professional who had counseled the victim, stated that the victim was shy and ashamed to talk about the abuse. She also testified that the victim would likely suffer emotional trauma if compelled to testify in front of Garcia. The second expert witness was Dr. Herschel Rozensweig, who had not met the victim, but testified that a similarly situated child would very hesitant to testify and may suffer emotional distress if forced to testify in a courtroom. The trial judge also questioned the victim in his chambers, where the victim exhibited shyness and stated that she was afraid of testifying in front of Garcia. The trial court granted the prosecution’s motion and the victim testified via closed circuit television. The jury convicted Garcia. Garcia appealed, arguing that the testimony via closed circuit television violated his Sixth Amendment confrontation right. Specifically, Garcia argued that the federal law allowing closed circuit testimony was unconstitutional and that the trial court improperly admitted the testimony of the two expert witnesses.

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Holding and Reasoning (Choy, J.)

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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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