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Is Testimony as to the Credibility and Delinquency of a Minor Admissible?

The credibility of a witness’ testimony is often a deciding factor in a court case. A recent study has found that the majority of young people who have been involved in the juvenile justice system do not believe that their testimony is credible. This is sometimes applicable in probate administration cases, and in probate litigation. This is a major problem that needs to be addressed.

Legal Terminology

Motion in Limine: A motion in limine is a motion filed by a party to a lawsuit which asks the court for an order or ruling limiting or preventing certain evidence from being presented by the other side at the trial of the case.

Legal Case

Houston v. Watson, 376 S.W.2d 23 (Tex. Civ. App. 1964). Street Repair Liability in Houston.

Parties:

Houston: Appellant city

Watson: The Appellee minor

Facts and Procedural History

Facts: Watson, was riding his motor scooter when he hit a large hole in the concrete street, lost control, finally fell over, skidded some distance and burst into flames, which he was pinned underneath. There was evidence that the hole was reported to the City of Houston approximately two months before the accident, and that about one month before the accident a temporary repair was made with asphalt mix, with the expectation that the permanent paving division would follow with the necessary concrete repair. The judge affirmed the trial judge’s judgment, finding that the Houston had ample opportunity to make at least another temporary repair before the accident after being notified that the temporary repair had degraded, and that Houston was under a duty to use ordinary care to make a reasonable inspection, and that such failure was a proximate cause of the occurrence in question. Houston’s contention that the trial court made evidentiary errors when they granted Watson’s motion in limine (which excluded evidence of Watson’s prior delinquency adjudications) was overruled.

Procedure: Houston, appellant city, sought review of the judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of Watson, the appellee minor, in a case to recover damages for severe personal injuries sustained by Watson when his motor scooter struck a hole in the street and caught fire. Houston argued that it had no actual or constructive notice of any condition that would alert the City of their duty to make an inspection. In addition Houston contended that there is no causal connection between the failure to inspect the hole and the accident in question. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

Was there a proper notice of claim filed with the City Council in accordance with the Charter of the City of Houston?

Yes, the notice given was attached to a letter dated May 14, 1959, addressed by the Watsons to the City and received by the City on June 3, 1959. The notice given clearly showed when, where and how the injury occurred. It went further and stated that the cause of the accident was the negligent maintenance and repair of the street, as well as the failure of the City through its employees to keep and maintain said street in a reasonably safe condition.

Did Houston have actual or constructive notice of the street’s condition?

Yes. Houston, by its employees in charge of making the repairs. The City knew that the repair which had been made was merely a temporary, emergency repair and that the asphalt mix placed in the hole would not hold up as concrete would. Moreover, the City was given notice a week before the accident of the hole which had occurred after the temporary repair had been made.

Did the court err in granting the Motion in Limine?

No. Watson’s motion in limine was directed mainly to the facts that the minor did not have a proper license to operate the motor scooter and that it had not been inspected properly. Neither the pleadings nor evidentiary claims made by Houston are material with respect to the minor’s cause of action since the failure to have a license was not a proximate cause of the accident in question.

Takeaways

Article IX, Sec. 11, of the Charter of the City of Houston, provides a notice must be submitted, in writing, to the City within 90 days of the injury and must contain: when, where and how the injury or destruction occurred, and the apparent extent thereof, the amount of damage sustained, the amount for which claimant will settle, the actual residence of the claimant by street and number at the date the claim is presented, and the actual residence of such claimant for six months immediately preceding the occurrence of such injuries or destruction, and the names and addresses of the witnesses upon whom he relies to establish his claim.

Testimony as to the credibility and delinquency of a minor is inadmissible as a matter of law in accordance with Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann art. 2338-1, § 13.

In order to show proximate causation of an accident resulting from negligent entrustment, it is necessary to show negligence on the part of the driver of the vehicle which proximately caused such accident.

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Related Questions

Can you call a child to the witness stand?

In a criminal trial, the credibility of a witness is key to determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. But what happens when the witness is a child? Can a child be called to the witness stand? And if so, how do we determine whether their testimony is credible? A great deal of research has been dedicated to the issue of children as witnesses, but no method of assessing credibility has emerged that is widely accepted by the legal community. As a result, cases involving child witnesses often take longer and more frequently end with an acquittal due to lack of credible evidence.

How reliable is the testimony of a child witness?

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cases in which the testimony of a child witness is crucial to the outcome of a criminal trial. However, there is still much debate about the reliability of such testimony. Some say that the use of child witnesses should be limited or even forbidden entirely.

Is testimonial evidence enough to convict?

The question of whether a juvenile offender’s testimony is enough to convict has been raised in light of recent cases in which young people have been convicted of serious crimes based on the testimony of their peers.

What makes testimony credible?

In the American criminal justice system, a great deal of weight is given to testimony—the statements given by witnesses about what they have seen or heard. But what makes testimony credible? And how does the credibility of a witness impact the outcome of a criminal case? The testimony of a single witness is often not enough, on its own, to establish the guilt of an individual accused of a crime. This is especially the case in serious matters such as murder or rape.

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