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Ricketts v. Delaware

Citation. Ricketts v. State, 488 A.2d 856, 1985)
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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.


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.


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


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


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.

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