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      CHC 661     


Art. 661.  Presence at adjudication hearing; exclusion of witnesses

A.  The child, his parents, counsel, the district attorney, authorized officials of the court as designated by the judge, agency representatives as designated by the state, court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, the witness under examination, and the judge may be present at the adjudication hearing.

B.  A child twelve years of age or older shall be present in court unless his presence is waived by the court upon motion of the child's counsel.  A child below the age of twelve years shall be present in court upon the request of counsel for the child or the court.  If the child is present in court, he may choose to testify as to his wishes, and the court shall consider his testimony in the matter.  Any testimony given by a child may be taken by a videotaped interview or by closed-circuit television, as authorized by Chapter 8 of Title III of this Code, or by an in-chambers conference attended only by the judge and court reporter and by counsel for the child, for the petitioner, and for the parents.

C.  The court shall not admit any other person into the courtroom unless the court has determined that the person has a proper interest in or is necessary to the proceedings.

D.  On its own motion the court may, and on the request of a party the court shall, order that the witnesses, other than parties, be excluded from the courtroom or from a place where they can see or hear the proceedings, and refrain from discussing the facts of the case with anyone other than counsel in the case.  In the interest of justice, the court may exempt any witness from its order.

E.  Prior to the commencement of the hearing, the court shall determine whether it is in the child's best interest for the child to remain in the courtroom during the testimony of the witnesses.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §6, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2006, No. 764, §1; Acts 2012, No. 730, §1.

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