Specializing in the representation of crime victims, women and children.


Copyright (c) 2014 Roger Williams University Law Review
Roger Williams University Law Review

Article: Traumatized Children Who Participate in Legal Proceedings are Entitled to Testimonial and Participatory Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Spring, 2014

Roger Williams University Law Review

19 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 361

Wendy Murphy*


I. Introduction
Many states have laws that allow children to testify in legal proceedings with the assistance of special protective measures. 2 While there is significant variation among the states, common options include testifying outside of the courtroom or by closed circuit television, sitting in smaller chairs, holding stuffed animals, using diagrams and anatomically correct dolls, and turning their bodies away from the accused. 3

The United States Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of special protections for children when such measures are "reliable and necessary," and so long as the court makes case-specific findings. 4 However, some states forbid or substantially limit such protections under their state constitutions. 5 This disparity between state and federal courts, combined with the disparities among the states themselves, means that children, as a class, experience inconsistent legal protections when participating in judicial proceedings.

Unlike characteristics such as race, sex, and national origin, children do not enjoy protected class status. Thus, under traditional equal protection and civil rights doctrines, the law does not ensure a baseline of fair treatment. However, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., ("ADA") provides protection to children with disabilities; these children are entitled to the ADA's protective benefits with regard to "services, programs or activities" of any "public entity," including legal proceedings. 6

Obviously, not all victimized children are disabled, however, a significant number experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") and other serious mental health ...

Bill Cosby: "I'm Far From Finished"

"Dear Fans: GOD has Blessed me with a wonderful gift to share with all of you. For 53 years I have continued to master this gift, which heals the soul and warms hearts. Laughter! I thank you, the theatre staff (Wilbur Theatre), the event organizers and the Boston Community for your continued support and coming to experience family, fun entertainment. Hey, Hey, Hey — I'm Far From Finished." — Bill Cosby


Dear Bill;

GOD wants his gift back because you're going to hell and nobody laughs down there.

And please stop thanking people for their support. The handful who won't condemn you are either on your payroll, blinded by their faith in your fake public persona, stupid, or rapists themselves.

You ARE finished, and you seem to be the only one who doesn't understand that yet.

If you insist on shaming yourself even more by continuing to perform on stage, knock yourself out. No, really — knock yourself out. I know about two dozen women who have a score to settle with your private parts.

"Hey, hey, hey — please go away." Preferably for 18-20.

Yours truly,
The civilized world


Wendy Murphy

Wendy is adjunct professor of sexual violence law at New England Law|Boston where she has taught for fifteen years. An impact litigator whose work in state and federal courts around the country has changed the law to improve protections for women's and children's constitutional rights, she developed and directs several projects in conjunction with the school's Center for Law and Social Responsibility. The Judicial Language Project began in 2005 and involves law students using socio-linguistic research to critique harmful language used in law and society to describe violence against women and children. The Sexual Violence Legal News Project distributes appellate decisions of note to increase understanding among lay audiences ny explain the likely impact and real world consequences of a court's ruling. Students involved in the project also provide editorial comments and helpful ideas so that people can take steps to enhance or prevent the decision's effects. The JD/PhD project is a multidisciplinary program where a JD student is teamed up with a PhD student to work across disciplines and produce a written critique that expresses the scientific and legal value of new research related to interpersonal violence. The team analyzes methodological reliability for the purpose of expediting or preventing its delivery into law, legal policy and human behavior. Read more»

Wendy Murphy Lecturing

Wendy lectures widely on gender-based violence, civil rights on campus, women's, children's, and victims' constitutional rights, and criminal justice policy.

To learn more or to have Wendy present a lecture, please click here.

Rape Drugs

Attorney Wendy Murphy can help victims prove they were drugged. Victims are often told that tests cannot be done after drugs disappear from blood and urine (which usually occurs after a matter of hours), but Murphy helps victims obtain results long after the incident through hair testing. Check out CampusAccountability.org for more information.

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