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4.12 Child Witness

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The Committee recommends that the trial judge give no instruction on the credibility of a child witness because it adds nothing to the general instructions on witness credibility. As to these instructions, see Instructions 1.7 (Credibility of Witnesses) and 3.9 (Credibility of Witnesses). 

In People of Territory of Guam v. McGravey, 14 F.3d 1344, 1348 (9th Cir. 1994), the Ninth Circuit stated that "the better view is . . . that a ‘trial judge retains discretion to determine whether the jury should receive a special instruction with respect to the credibility of a young witness, and if so, the nature of that instruction.’"(citation omitted). See also United States v. Pacheco, 154 F.3d 1236, 1239 (10th Cir. 1998) (holding that the general witness credibility instruction provided the jury with adequate guidance in evaluating child’s testimony).