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Criminal Defense – The Right To Cross Examination

History Of The Right To Confront Your Accuser (Confrontation Right)

Something we often teach children is that they have a right to ask questions of someone who wronged them. Even though they may not get the answers they seek, they have this right. The law has this similar notion in the Confrontation Right. This is the right of a defendant to confront the witness that is testifying against him or her. This usually takes the form of a cross-examination in the courtroom. This right, however, only applies to criminal cases and not civil cases.

This clause has its roots in England. According to The Heritage Guide to The Constitution, “Long before the American Constitution, trials featuring live testimony in open court subject to cross-examination were typical in the English common-law courts.” When the Confrontation right was adopted into the sixth amendment, those who did so probably had that model in mind. This is due to the abuses the American colonists had experienced or witnessed.

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