Brief filed: 07/24/2003
Crawford v. Washington
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 541 U.S. 36
Crawford overruled Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56 (1980), which until 2004 allowed introduction of hearsay statements with "particularized guarantees of trustworthiness."
The Court (Scalia, J.) ruled 7-2 that the Sixth Amendment "commands, not that evidence be reliable, but that reliability be assessed in a particular manner: by testing in the crucible of cross-examination." 124 S.Ct. at 1370. The Court emphasized that Confrontation Clause protection only applies to "testimonial" out-of-court statements, such as statements against penal interest (the statement at issue in this case). Encouragingly, the Court acknowledged its ruling creates some tension with other hearsay exceptions, such as spontaneous ("excited") utterances; the Court specifically refused to decide whether the Sixth Amendment incorporates an "historical" exception for dying declarations.
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