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Courts of last resort now seldom reverse a ruling on the competency
of witnesses.' Convinced, and rightly so, that they cannot
learn from the record all the circumstances which influenced
the decision below, they usually let it stand, even when the transcript
alone might suggest another conclusion. Trial courts, in
their turn, to a greater extent than formerly prefer to admit the
evidence of infants, insane people, and mental defectives, and
leave the jury to estimate its value. Perhaps this is because
exclusion has heretofore worked particular hardship in prosecutions
for crimes against children and the insane, where the only
evidence available was that of the victim. Now these aggrieved
individuals may testify even when the gist of the action, as in
statutory rape, or the title of the action, as where a "lunatic"
sues by his next friend, indicates their infirmity. The infirmity
alone does not render them incompetent.

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law, evidence, competency of witness