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July 24, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(4):260. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680040048023

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The Credibility of Juvenile Witnesses  In his recently published work, "Jugendliche Zeugen in Sittlichkeitsprozessen" (Juvenile Witnesses in Suits Involving Immorality), Prof. Dr. William Stern shows how easily children and juveniles are influenced by questions that bear within them a suggested reply, and how easy it is for a child to come to believe and to insist on the truth of false or loose statements, as the result of testifying at repeated hearings. There is a tendency for testimony of juveniles to become more and more untrustworthy, the oftener it is repeated. The difficulty of securing accurate information from children is further complicated by the fact that parents often use corporal punishment "to freshen their memory." Following the parents come the police, who usually deal with the situation in such a rude way that juveniles are profoundly influenced psychically. Under all circumstances in which juveniles are concerned, the preliminary police hearing

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