May 25, 2006
The trial judge's competency examination of a 12-year-old alleged rape victim was not sufficient, holds the court in In re J.M., in light of the witness' substantial mental disabilities:
The record is replete with indications that B.D. was in special education classes, that she had and continues to have imaginary friends, that she had at least one past diagnosis of schizophrenia, and that her ability to recollect even routine information such as the day, month, and year was severely limited.
Judge Kilbane's opinion contains an excellent summary and analysis of the law pertaining to competency of a witness under Evid.R. 601(A), and the procedure the courts should use in making that determination.