SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1CR05-071 07/29/05




A child is not disqualified as a witness simply by reason of his or her youth.  There is no precise age which determines a child’s ability to be a witness.  This depends upon each child’s capacity and intelligence, on his or her understanding of the difference between truth and falsehood, and on his or her appreciation of the duty to tell the truth.

As with any other witness, you are the sole judge of the credibility of the child’s testimony.  You may consider not only his or her age, but also his or her demeanor on the stand, his or her capacity to observe facts and to recollect them now.  You may also consider the child’s ability to understand the questions put to him or her, and to answer the questions asked.

You may not assume that children in general are more or less believable just because of their youth.  You also may not give a child’s testimony greater weight because of any natural sympathy for the child.  You may give the child’s testimony whatever weight you think it deserves.