Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency Part 4, § 343.2: Rules of evidence; corroboration of accomplice testimony

When a child is accused of committing a crime, the child's case is heard in Family Court and not criminal court. Instead of the child being subjected to a criminal trial, a child who is between the ages of 7 and 16 would go through a fact-finding hearing where it would be determine dwhether or not the child is a juvenile delinquent. However, some of the rules and procedures required in juvenile delinquent hearings are the same or similar as those that apply to criminal court hearings. One example of this is the requirement of corroboration of accomplice testimony in juvenile delinquency proceedings. Under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, Section 343.2, a minor cannot be found to be delinquent based on testimony of an accomplice that has not been corroborated.

Example

The Onondaga County Attorney filed a petition against Ethan S. alleging that he was a juvenile delinquent. However, the Family Court judge dismissed the petition because it was supported only by uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice in violation of New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, Section 343.2. In the Matter of Ethan S., 28 A.D.3d 1165 (N.Y. App. Div., 2006)

In another example, Daniel C. was found to be a juvenile delinquent based on finding that he committed acts that if committed by an adult would constitute the crimes of endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully dealing with a child. The incident involved Daniel C. providing alcoholic beverages to three girls who were under the age of 16. The three girls provided testimony against Daniel C. The court determined that finding Daniel C. to be juvenile delinquent based on the testimony of the three girls was not a violation of the rule requiring corroboration of accomplice testimony. In drinking alcohol, the girls did not commit a crime, but violated Alcoholic Beverage Control Law section 65-c, which is a violation. Family Court Act section 343.2 requires corroboration where the witness "may reasonably be considered to have participated in a crime." Matter of Daniel C., 48 A.D.3d 1242 (N.Y. App. Div., 2008)

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Fact-finding hearing; order of procedure: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, section 342.1
  2. Fact-finding hearing; removal: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, section 346.1
Remedy

If the only evidence against a minor facing an accusation of juvenile delinquency is the testimony of an accomplice, the minor cannot be adjudged a delinquent.

Family Court Act, Article 4, Child Protective Services, Part 3, section 343.2: Rules of evidence; corroboration of accomplice testimony
  1. A respondent may not be found to be delinquent upon the testimony of an accomplice unsupported by corroborative evidence tending to connect the respondent with the commission of the crime or crimes charged in the petition.
  2. An "accomplice" means a witness in a juvenile delinquency proceeding who, according to evidence adduced in such proceeding, may reasonably be considered to have participated in: (a) the crime charged; or (b) a crime based on the same or some of the same facts or conduct which constitutes the crime charged in the petition.
  3. A witness who is an accomplice as defined in subdivision two is no less such because a proceeding, conviction or finding of delinquency against him would be barred or precluded by some defense or exemption such as infancy, immunity or previous prosecution amounting to a collateral impediment to such proceeding, conviction or finding, not affecting the conclusion that such witness engaged in the conduct constituting the crime with the mental state required for the commission thereof.
New York Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer

If your child has been accused of committing a crime, it is critical that your child has experienced representation. Juvenile delinquency procedure is complicated with special procedural rules that must be followed. The outcome of your child's case could have a significant impact on his or her future. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing juvenile clients in New York Family Court as well as in criminal court who have been accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those involved in juvenile delinquency matters in the following locations:

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