On August 1, 2023, the ACLU of Kansas filed an amicus brief in State of Kansas v. Kimberley S. Younger before the Kansas Supreme Court. The brief argues that criminal defendants have a right to confront witnesses face-to-face under Section Ten of the Kansas Bill of Rights and that Ms. Younger's interpretation of that right should be endorsed by the Court.
In the case, Ms. Younger was convicted of aiding and abetting capital murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, solicitation of first degree murder, and theft, and on her appeal, argues that the lower court violated her constitutional right to face-to-face confrontation by allowing a witness, Frank Zaitshik, to testify remotely.
Under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, criminal defendants have a right to confront and cross-examine witnesses testifying against them. The Kansas Constitution's Section Ten expression of these rights is distinct and even more plain, explicitly stating defendants have the right to meet the witnesses "face to face." Based on its text and history, Section Ten's standard cannot be satisfied by remote proceedings and should be interpreted more broadly than the federal Confrontation Clause because of this textual difference.
The brief calls on the Court to interpret the right to face-to-face confrontation under Section Ten of the Kansas Constitution to be more robust and distinct from the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause.