I didn't do it.
I didn't do it.
Cross-examining children is an intuitive art. Often, the defense is not given any opportunity to interview the child in advance of trial. Only a handful of jurisdictions allow depositions of witnesses in criminal cases.
The Shellow Group can and does represent the innocent accused in many states and many federal districts with the aid of local counsel. These cases takes hundreds of hours and most often do not settle before trial because prosecutors hang on to the maxim that children do not lie about sexual assault.
Once a child is on the witness stand, the cross-examination is a gentle journey to obtain the CHILD’S trust through confirmation of tiny details about the child’s thoughts and feelings upon which reasonable doubt is later argued in closing argument.
Cross-examining a child is not about slaying a dragon, it is about making the child trust me enough to disclose a tiny hint of the hurt and betrayal that invariably hides beneath the surface of the accusation.
We call that growing up.
It does not mean the child accuser is a bad kid. Most of the time it means that everyone in the system asked the wrong questions. School guidance counselors are required by law to report every accusation regardless of its believability. The social workers, who purport to be experts in weeding out the liars, work for the prosecutors whose daily self-worth depends on how many so-called child molesters can be sent to prison on a given day.
The burden of Proof in child molestation cases is not on the state or the federal government despite the clear language of the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
The burden is on me.
I remain humbled by the chance to free the innocently accused.
Child molestation is a serious crime that too can be based on lies from a young victim that was hurt in other ways.