Interviewer: In these scenarios, if the child makes accusations, are they allowed to recant it later?
Attorney Churak: They can always come in to recant but do they recant? No. That’s the most difficult thing as a defense attorney, is when they put the little child up there on the stand and they bring in her teddy bear and they bring in all the theatrics is to cross-examine that child.
You’ve got to do it so gingerly but what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to pull out major inconsistencies in the statements and bring forth anything that could establish any kind of bias or prejudice. What’s the motive of the child to say what she’s saying? That’s one thing. If there’s a motive there, if there’s motive for that child to say something, you got a good shot of walking out of that courtroom with a not guilty verdict.
I’ve had that situation where I’ve discredited the parents of the complaining witness. The complaining witness was confused and gave different stories each time and you just have to bring it out in front of a jury. The juries are smart. They see a lot of these cases. But if the child credible and holds up under cross-examination and there are no reasons why they would be lying or stories to support why he or she is lying, your client has a serious problem.
Interviewer: You’re saying these children in these situations, even though by this point they must know that they’re going to be ruining someone’s life, will not recant their accusation?
Attorney Churak: They don’t care. They don’t think it’s ever going to get that far. The problem is that the child advocacy groups, once they get a hold of these children they’ve actually convinced them it really happened to them. Texas is probably one of the worst states in the union to be tried as a sex offender.
Attorney Churak: The way the laws are, the way the juries are. They don’t look kindly on sex offenders. It’s not uncommon to have life sentences handed out only because they can’t give them a death sentence.