AZ Appeals Court: Parents Don't Have Inherent Right To Cross-Examine Children In Custody Termination Cases

July 25, 2014

An Arizona court of appeals has ruled that parents don’t have an inherent right to question their children at hearings that could sever their custody. It’s the first time a ruling like this has been made in Arizona.

The right to cross examine a witness is an essential part of most court cases. But due to this court’s opinion, that right doesn’t necessarily apply when the state is attempting to permanently remove a child from their home.

Charles Flanagan is the director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety. He says the ruling was a huge victory for the department and child abuse victims because it requires that courts consider a child’s best interest before allowing cross examination.

"It’s intended to protect children who have already  been abused and victimized from being subjected to further abuse and victimization and it recognizes that there are alternative means for getting the information that the attorney or the parents might need in making their case."

The appeals court made the decision unanimously on Thursday.