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NJ High Court Weighs Testimony By Phone

Peter Dazeley, Getty Images

A case before the New Jersey Supreme Court could give new meaning to the term “phoning it in.”

The high court on Wednesday heard arguments on whether a man in Mexico can use telephone testimony to challenge his conviction of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Juan Pablo Santos is trying to overturn a 2008 child endangerment conviction, but can’t be present in court because he was deported as a result of his conviction.

Prosecutors are fighting the effort to let the former Lakewood resident call in from a pay phone in Mexico, which a lower court judge in Ocean County said would be OK last year.

At issue is the judge’s ability to assess the credibility of a witness. Justices suggested video conferencing, but said more argument is needed.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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