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Court holds 8 year-old girl cannot attend her own malpractice trial

This month the Georgia Supreme Court will be hearing an unlikely constitutional argument.  Kyla Kesterson has filed an appeal, through her Next Friend, of a trial judge's ruling that she could not attend the medical malpractice trial against her doctor.  The doctor's lawyers argued that Kyla's injuries were so severe that the jury, if exposed to the injuries for too long, would render a decision based solely on sympathy. The trial judge granted the doctor's [insurer's] lawyers' motion and limited Kyla to three brief appearances in the courtroom. 

So far as we know, this is the first ruling of this kind in the U.S.  This unprecedented denial of the young woman's right to be present at her trial would only be possible in an atmosphere where the financial interests of insurers are weighed more heavily than the due process rights of a catastrophically-injured girl.  Usually we see this kind of ruling coming only from a jurisdiction such as China, where individual rights are historically downtrodden.  Odd that this decision would be handed down within one year of the U.S. Supreme Court holding that corporations are citizens having the right to make unlimited political contributions.  Wonder if they could be excluded from a trial?

Our system of justice in this country is being overwhelmed by corporate money.  In another generation, the only difference between our courts and the Chinese courts will be that ours are dominated by for-profit corporations rather than the central government.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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