Law: Defiance

Solitary for a twelve-year-old

The witness in the Solano County, Calif., Municipal Court was a twelve-year-old girl named Amy, and Judge John DeRonde was cold and impersonal as he asked her to take the oath and testify. The girl, neatly dressed in jeans and a white blouse, replied with a nervous smile that she would not. The startled judge and prosecutor explained that the law required Amy to take the witness stand. Again she politely refused.

Judge DeRonde then took an action that shocked the nation: he ordered Amy held at the Solano County Juvenile Hall until she agreed to testify. She remained...

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