North Carolina’s “Caylee’s Law”

In 2013 North Carolina enacted “Caylee’s Law,” S.L. 2013-52, a statute similar to laws adopted in other states after the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. North Carolina’s law makes a number of changes regarding the reporting of missing, abused or deceased children. This post summarizes the changes, all of which are effective for offenses occurring on … Read more


Are a Child’s Statements to a Treating Psychologist Admissible Under Hinnant?

Suppose a child victim of sexual abuse is referred to a psychologist for counseling. In the course of treatment the child reveals details about the abuse. If the child doesn’t testify at the later sex abuse trial, are the child’s statements to the psychologist admissible under the Rule 803(4) hearsay exception for statements made for … Read more


Child Victims and the Medical Diagnosis and Treatment Hearsay Exception

Child victim cases often present an array of challenging evidence issues. In a paper here I addressed many of those issues. One common question that folks contact me about is the admissibility of a child’s hearsay statements under Evidence Rule 803(4). This rule creates a hearsay exception for statements made for purposes of medical diagnosis … Read more

Careful Questioning in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Further Update: The court has reissued an opinion in this case. On the issue discussed below, it is very similar — at a minimum — to the original opinion. Update: As of April 1, 2009, the Court of Appeals has withdrawn this opinion.  I’ll post again when the new opinion comes out. The Court of … Read more