March 27, 2012
Colorado Court of Appeals 3-15-12 People v. Ujaama
People v. Ujaama Confrontation – Closed Circuit TV
Facts: A jury convicted Mr. Ujaama of 1˚ murder and auto theft. During trial, the prosecution sought and the trial court allowed the step-daughter to testify by closed circuit TV. The prosecution filed a motion alleging that the girl would suffer emotional distress if forced to testify in front of Mr. Ujaama.
Issue: Whether the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the daughter to testify by closed circuit TV?
Reasoning: Relying on Maryland v. Craig, 497 U.S. 836 (1990), the Court of Appeals held that allowing the testimony by TV did not violate Mr. Ujaama’s right to confront witnesses. In Craig, the U.S. Supreme Court held, “So long as a trial court makes ... a case specific finding of necessity, the Confrontation Clause does not prohibit ... using a one-way closed circuit television procedure for the receipt of testimony by a child witness.” (quoting the Court of Appeals recitation of the holding in Craig) Opinion by Judge Bailey with Judges Taubman and Fox concurring.