For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 16

exception and non-testimonial the issue of taint
may be raised to have a child witness declared
incompetent from testifying.

Taint
Another avenue for attacking the admissibility
of statements received by a SANE from child
victims would be to raise the issue of taint. "Taint
is the implantation of false memories or the
distortion of real memories caused by interview
techniques of law enforcement, social service
personnel, and other interested adults, that are
so unduly suggestive and coercive as to infect
the memory of the child, rendering the child
incompetent to testify."135
Forensic interview protocols have been set up in
an attempt to avoid taint of a witness's testimony
during interviews of the witness. In Pennsylvania,
if a finding of taint is found, then the witness is
not competent to testify.136
A forensic interview is a structured conversation
that is designed to obtain information from a child
about an event the child may have experienced.137
A forensic interview needs to be phrased to fit

16

For The Defense

l

Vol. 4, Issue 4

the child's level of cognitive development and
linguistic skills.138 Several forensic interview
protocols have been developed such as the
National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development; the National Children's Advocacy
Center's Child Forensic Interview Structure, and
the Michigan Forensic Interviewing Structure.139
Phases of the interview involve the Pre-Interview
Preparation, Rapport Building, Conducting a
Practice Interview, Substantive Phase of the
Interview, Additional Questions and Clarification,
and Closing of the Interview.140 In the taint area,
the substantive phase and the additional questions
are of importance. Questions during these phases
must encourage the child to report events in their
own words and minimize questions that convey
information or introduce topics the child has not
previously mentioned.141
Questioning protocols list various types of
question that are asked as:
*	Open-ended questions (also called openended prompts and invitations; "Tell me
everything that happened.") require a child
to search their memory for details of an


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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - Contents
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