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Trial courts required to admit videorecordings of children's forensic interviews

The court held that MCL 712A.17b(5) requires a trial court to admit videorecordings of a child's forensic interview during a non-adjudicatory stage (here a tender years hearing) and that the trial court clearly erred in not admitting the children's videorecorded forensic interviews. However, the error did not require reversal of the trial court's order terminating the respondent-mother's parental rights. Termination was justified under §§ 19b(3)(b)(ii), (b)(iii), (g), and (j), and was in the children's best interests. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's order. Respondent did not contest a trial court's ability to receive testimony about a young child's statement under MCR 3.972(C), but argued that the trial court erred in failing to admit and view the actual recordings of the children's interviews. The court agreed that "the trial court's refusal to admit the videotapes was contrary to the clear language of MCL 712A.17b(5)." It correctly applied the general rule to the statements of one of the children (MB) to his grandmother (B), "which were made spontaneously and were not the result of a forensic interview." It also properly applied the court rule to "the non-recorded statements the children made to workers who interviewed them at school. However, there is a specific statute governing the admissibility of a particular type of statement given by a child - those that have been videorecorded in the manner set forth in detail" in MCL 712A.17b. The recordings "were the best evidence of the children's statement, not the forensic interviewers' interpretation of those statements." However, in deciding whether to admit the children's statements, the trial court had to "ascertain that the circumstances surrounding the giving of the statements provided adequate indicia of trustworthiness, which included evidence separate and apart from the actual videorecordings." It noted that MB had "[n]o motive to fabricate," that his statements to B were "very spontaneous" and "generally consistently repetitive," and that B's testimony "seem[ed] rather consistent with that which [c]ame along afterwards . . . ." There was no recording of MB's statement to B and the trial court's finding that MB's statement provided adequate indicia of trustworthiness was supported by the record. The trial court indicated its concern as to the indicia of trustworthiness of the other children's statements, but concluded that they were admissible, and this conclusion also had support in the record. "Each of the siblings' statements seemed to corroborate MB's original statement" to B. While respondent argued that the recordings were inconsistent with the witnesses' testimony, "these inconsistencies were explored on cross-examination and were fully acknowledged by the trial court when it rendered its decision."

5 Common Misdemeanors Affecting People in Michigan

Originally posted on 11/08/2019 There are many different levels of crime and the consequences once someone has been charged with them. One bracket of crimes is known as a misdemeanor. Let’s go over this level of crime and some common...

PROBATE 44: The court held that the probate court did not err by declaring a will executed by the decedent invalid on the basis that she lacked testamentary capacity to execute it and that it was the product of petitioner’s undue influence.

Defendant and Decedent met in August 2017. In approximately November 2017, Decedent began talking constantly about wanting Defendant to take her to see an attorney for the purpose of changing her will. On March 19, 2018, Defendant filed a petition...

Michigan Expungement Law Updates For 2021

There has been a new laws regarding expungements for the state of Michigan.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that expands the criteria for expungements related to traffic offenses, marijuana convictions, and minor...

Wills and Trusts

Originally posted on: 02/14/2014 Aldrich Legal Service provides legal advice and representation for residents in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We also review recent legal cases to examine what took place and what we can...

REAL ESTATE 68: Holding that plaintiffs-buyers’ allegations of fraud in this case arising from the sale of a residence did not preclude the trial court from granting defendants’ motion for summary disposition based on a release, the court affirmed.

This cause of action arises from plaintiffs’ purchase of a residence from defendant, who had rights in the house under a land contract from co-defendant, the legal owner of the house. Before the house was for sale, in January 2018, an upstairs...

REAL ESTATE 65: Determining that it could not conclude the trial court erred in its factual findings, and that it did not err in reforming a 2005 deed, the court affirmed the ruling that defendants were fee simple owners of the disputed 50-foot area

This case arose from a real-property dispute between brothers, as well as their respective wives. After a bench trial, the trial court rendered its findings of fact. The trial court determined that plaintiffs did not prove that excluding the...

FAMILY LAW 58: The trial court did not err by denying defendant-father’s motion to change custody and modify his parenting time of the parties’ child without having an evidentiary hearing to determine if there was proper cause or a change in circums

This case arose from a custody and parenting-time dispute between plaintiff-mother and father over their minor child. After father failed to respond to the paternity complaint within the 21 days of receipt of the complaint, mother filed an affidavit...

DIVORCE 53: Although the court affirmed the trial court’s decisions to deny defendant’s motions to set aside the default and the default JOD, it vacated the portions of the default JOD as to the distribution of marital property, custody, parenting t

Plaintiff filed for divorce. Defendant filed an answer and a counterclaim for divorce.  Plaintiff and defendant were both ordered to appear at the settlement conference. After defendant failed to appear, the trial court entered a default. Soon...

FAMILY LAW 53: The trial court erred by treating the parties’ GAL as an LGAL and denying the parties the right to question her at a hearing; however, the trial court did not err in requiring the parties to compensate the GAL for her services.

Plaintiff and Defendant were never married, but share a young son who was born in 2016. The parties have battled over custody, child support, and other parenting issues ever since. In the spring of 2019, the parties filed competing motions to modify...

The Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

Original Post: 1/11/2019 Often, burglary, robbery, and theft are used interchangeably even though there are distinct differences between all of them. Though, what all three do have in common is they may involve the unlawful taking of...

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