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Pennsylvania Amendment 1, Right of Criminal Defendants to Confront Witnesses (2003)

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Pennsylvania Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXISchedule 1Schedule 2
Pennsylvania Amendment 1, also known as Amending the Right of Persons Accused of a Crime to Meet the Witness Against them Face to Face, was on the November 4, 2003 election ballot in Pennsylvania as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved.

The question asked on the ballot was ""Shall the Pennsylvania constitution be amended to provide that a person accused of a crime has the right to be "confronted with the witnesses against him," instead of the right to "meet the witnesses face to face?""

Election results

Amendment 1
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,239,356 68.2%
No578,03131.8%

Explanation

The Pennsylvania Attorney General provided an explanation of Amendment 1 which said:

This ballot question proposes to amend the provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution that gives persons accused of a crime the right to "meet the witnesses face to face." The United States Constitution gives an accused person the right to "be confronted with the witnesses against him." This ballot question would make the language of the Pennsylvania Constitution the same as the language of the United States Constitution.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that laws permitting children to testify in criminal proceedings outside the physical presence of the accused, by means such as videotaped deposition and closed-circuit television, violate the Pennsylvania Constitution because they deny accused persons the right to confront the witnesses against them "face to face." In contrast, the United States Supreme Court has upheld such laws under the United States Constitution, which guarantees accused persons the right to confront the witnesses against them, but not necessarily the right to confront witnesses "face to face."

The purpose of this ballot question is to remove from the Pennsylvania Constitution the right of accused persons to confront the witnesses against them "face to face," so that the Pennsylvania General Assembly may enact laws or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court may adopt rules that permit children to testify in criminal proceedings outside the physical presence of the accused.

The Pennsylvania Constitution would continue to guarantee accused persons the right to confront the witnesses against them. This ballot question is limited in that it would remove from the Pennsylvania Constitution only the right to confront witnesses "face to face."

The effect of this ballot question would be to remove from the Pennsylvania Constitution the right of accused persons to confront the witnesses against them "face to face" and to make the language of the Pennsylvania Constitution guaranteeing accused persons the right to confront the witnesses against them the same as the language of the United States Constitution.

See also

External links