“The Child Witness” offers day of engaging, enlightening discussion about difficult issues
Public Relations - Published: April 5, 2009

The School of Law hosted about 125 people for a daylong event focused on children as legal witnesses, and the unique issues they present. The annual program, presented Friday, April 3 on the Delaware campus by the Widener Law Review, created a buzz and drew positive reviews.

“This annual symposium is an exceptional event at Widener,” student Robyn Airey-Rose, editor-in-chief of the Widener Law Review said. “It brings the legal community, professors and students together in a unique learning experience.”

Topics for the event, titled “The Child Witness,” included things like hearsay, interview processes, ethical issues and special courtroom accommodations. Speaker Mimi Rose, Esq., an attorney for the School District of Philadelphia, said the hardest cases she sees involve adolescent incest victims who are asked to testify against the parents who have abused them.

“There are no easy answers here,” Rose said. “These are very difficult cases and often why they are plea bargained.”

The symposium was co-chaired by Associate Professor Jules Epstein and Professor John Nivala, director of the school’s Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute. Law Dean Linda L. Ammons said that between the institute, Widener’s outstanding joint-degree program for psychology and the law, and the school’s role as a leader in representation for domestic violence victims, Widener was a natural to host a symposium on the topic of child witnesses.

“We offer this symposium as part of Widener’s ongoing commitment to engaging in scholarship that has real and practical benefits and offers guidance on how to make critical improvements in our nation’s system of justice,” she said.