Mo. General Assembly passes child-in-court protections
By Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Jefferson City, MO – New protections for children who testify in court have been passed unanimously by the Missouri Senate.
Attorneys and judges would be required to use words children can understand, and kids would be allowed to hold a blanket or toy while on the stand.
State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) says she sponsored the bill after watching video of a 4-year-old girl called to testify against a bus driver charged with molesting her.
"She was scared to death, she was holding her little toy, pulling the fur out of it, fidgeting, uncomfortable, crying, and having trouble even breathing, she was so scared...and this went on for 3-1/2 hours," Cunningham said.
The bill has already passed the Missouri House and is on its way to Governor Jay Nixon.