MARYLAND v. CRAIG

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
89-478
Petitioner 
Maryland
Respondent 
Craig
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Term:
Facts of the Case 

Sandra Ann Craig, the operator of a kindergarten and pre-school facility, was accused of sexually abusing a six-year-old child. Over Craig's objections, a trial court allowed the alleged child victim to testify via one-way closed circuit television. The child testified outside the courtroom while Mrs. Craig, through electronic communication with her lawyer, could make objections. The judge and jury also viewed the testimony in the courtroom. This was done in order to avoid the possibility of serious emotional distress for the child witness. The trial court convicted Craig, but the Maryland high court reversed.

Question 

Did the closed-circuit testimony violate the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Maryland, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Right to Confront and Cross-Examine, Compulsory Process

No. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees criminal defendants face-to-face meetings with witnesses against them at trial, was not absolute. The Court found that "in certain narrow circumstances, 'competing interests, if closely examined, may warrant dispensing with confrontation at trial." The State's interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of children, the Court held, could be sufficiently important to outweigh defendants' rights to face their accusers in court.

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MARYLAND v. CRAIG. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_89_478>.
MARYLAND v. CRAIG, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_89_478 (last visited November 25, 2014).
"MARYLAND v. CRAIG," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 25, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_89_478.