The Iowa Supreme Court today (Friday) ruled a Webster County woman does not have to be in the courtroom for eye witness testimony that might help send her to prison. The Constitution says those who’re on trial have the right to confront their accusers. But in 2003, Melissa Jean Folkerts wanted to waive her right to sit through such testimony as her attorney questioned an elderly woman who’d picked Folkerts out of a lineup. Folkerts attorney wanted to ask the woman if she could describe Folkerts, without having Folkerts sitting right there in the courtroom as a reference. The trial judge refused the request. An appeals court agreed. But now the Iowa Supreme Court has said Folkerts does not have to be in the courtroom when the elderly woman testifies. A justice who dissented said Folkerts’ attorney could have used “artful questioning” to make his point without trying to keep Folkerts out of the courtroom.
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