Wednesday, August 10, 2005

United States v. Kappell, No. 04-1333(8/9/05)
In this difficult case, the defendant was convicted of nine counts of child sex abuse, and ultimately received a sentence of life imprisonment. The Sixth Circuit considered first whether Kappell's right to confrontation was violated because the children testified in a room outside the courtroom and the jury viewed their testimony over close circuit monitors. The Sixth Circuit found that testimony in this manner did not violate the defendant’s right to confrontation. Second, the court held that Federal Rule of Evidence 803(4) covers statements that are made to psychotherapist for purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment, even if the therapist is not a physician or nurse. Lastly, the Court concluded that the District Court properly relied upon a state criminal complaint, a transcript of the state plea proceedings, and the defendant’s acceptance in those proceedings of factual statements in the complaint, to determine whether the enhancement for life imprisonment should apply. The Court found that the documents considered by the District Court satisfied the standards of both Taylor and Sheppard.

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