Anatomically Correct Dolls

In general

In general

• Anatomically correct dolls are demonstrative evidence.

See Newton v. State, 456 N.E.2d 736, 741 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983)(citation omitted)(“Demonstrative evidence is admissible if the item is sufficiently explanatory or illustrative of relevant testimony to be of potential help to the trier of fact. Such a foundation was laid for the victim's use at trial of the anatomical dolls.”)

E.g., Cleaveland v. State, 490 N.E.2d 1140, 1141 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986)(citations omitted)(“The trial court has discretion in allowing or prohibiting the use of demonstrative evidence. Such evidence may be admitted if it is sufficiently explanatory or illustrative or relevant testimony in explaining what occurred. The doll [one of the victims] used had sufficient anatomical detail to help the jury. [The defendant] has not established that the doll's lack of an accurately depicted vagina in any way misrepresented [the victim’s] testimony or misled the jury, or prejudiced him in any other way.”)

E.g., Russell v. State, 540 N.E.2d 1222, 1225 (Ind. 1989)(emphasis added)(“The victim testified that [the defendant] came into her bedroom while she was sleeping and led her into the front room and put her in his bed. He closed his eyes. He then put her hand on his penis. When she took it away, he kept putting it back for what seemed like a hundred times. He had no clothes on while in bed with her, while she was in her night clothes. She demonstrated the incident with an anatomically correct doll. She repeated the core aspects of the incident several times during the trial. This was evidence of probative value which, if believed, would warrant a reasonable trier of fact in concluding beyond a reasonable doubt that [the defendant] committed an act of touching within the meaning of this statute . . . .”)

• For more information about demonstrative evidence, please review Demonstrative Evidence.

• Anatomically correct dolls are also a means of promoting factual accuracy in the testimony of children.

See Duffitt v. State, 519 N.E.2d 216, 225 (Ind. Ct. App. 1988), aff’d, 525 N.E.2d 607 (Ind. 1988)(Sullivan, J., concurring)(emphasis added)(“To be sure, the judicial system has recognized the disability, in terms of trauma and intimidation, visited upon children of tender years called upon to appear in an austere courtroom before and with adults to speak about ‘unspeakable’ things. Various measures, such as anatomically correct dolls, reliable out-of-court statements, etcetera [sic], have been devised to make that occasion promotive of factual accuracy.”)

• The use of anatomically correct dolls is not analogous to in-court experiments.

See Cleaveland v. State, 490 N.E.2d 1140, 1141 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986)(“[The defendant] further argues that use of the dolls is analogous to in-court experiments. . . . His analogy is inappropriate; [the victim] was not conducting an experiment, she was merely using the dolls to aid and illustrate her testimony.”)