Can a witness be accompanied by a family member while giving evidence at a sexual assault trial?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from People v. Adams, 19 Cal.App.4th 412, 23 Cal.Rptr.2d 512 (Cal. App. 1993):

[19 Cal.App.4th 441] In State v. Suka (1989) 70 Haw. 472, 777 P.2d 240, the court held that defendant was prejudiced when a 15-year-old witness was accompanied by a victim-witness counselor who stood behind the witness with her hands on the witness's shoulders while the witness testified. The victim-witness counselor's conduct bolstered the witness's credibility and the record did not establish that the procedure was necessary to obtain the complainant's testimony. The court suggested that a relative as accompanying person might have been less prejudicial because that person would more likely be seen as family support than as vouching for the witness's credibility.

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