To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library




Ricketts v. Delaware

Law Students: Don’t know your Bloomberg Law login? Register here

Brief Fact Summary. Darrell Ricketts, Defendant, was convicted of raping the five-year old daughter of the woman he was dating. The victim was able to testify at trial that the rape occurred using dolls and drawings.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Witnesses are presumed competent to testify.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

The Court held that the six-year-old child is presumed competent to testify once the trial judge is satisfied by voir dire that the child understood her obligation to tell the truth and the difference between truth and falsehood.

View Full Point of Law
Facts. Defendant, Darrell Ricketts, was convicted of raping a five year old girl. The victim was the daughter of a woman Defendant dated. During the bench trial, the victim testified, through the use of dolls and drawings, that Defendant anally raped her as her mother slept. The trial court found the witness competent because she demonstrated she understood the difference between truth and a lie.

Issue. Did the trial court commit error by allowing the victim to testify without the required foundation to determine her competency?

Held. Justice Moore issued the opinion for the Delaware Supreme Court in holding that the trial court did not commit reversible error.

Discussion. The Court notes that the presumption that witnesses are presumed competent to testify is not different when a child witness is involved. The victim demonstrated that she knew the difference between the truth and lie and she testified that she promised to tell the truth. Thus, this was sufficient to establish competency to testify.

Create New Group

Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following