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Due process: Your right to face your accuser

As a resident of Phoenix, you have specific rights under the U.S. Constitution. Here at The Baker Law Firm LLC, we are asked many questions about what those rights are. One of those rights is to know who is making the allegations against you, especially in cases involving sexual assault.

According to the University of Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, this is part of the established due process that exists within our judicial system. Essentially, it protects you from being prosecuted based on rumors or anonymous accusers. Under this due process rule, you cannot be arrested or charged with a crime without some form of evidence, whether that comes in the form of a victim, a witness to the alleged crime, images of the crime or biological evidence.

In matters concerning sexual offenses, this usually means that the alleged victim must give testimony of the events in the courtroom and that you, or your attorney, must have the opportunity to question the validity of that statement. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If the alleged victim is deceased, then the state takes on the role as the party making the allegations.

In situations where children or minors are the alleged victims, the court may allow them to testify through a one-way closed circuit TV. This means that you can still see them on the screen but they will not physically be present in the courtroom. This request is usually granted when the court determines that testifying in open court will be extremely traumatizing on the child. For more information on charges involving sexual assault, please visit our web page.

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