RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE A Practice Manual – Admission of Hearsay after Crawford v. Washington

RI Criminal Defense Practice Manual CoverRHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE
A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
© John E. MacDonald

 

CONFRONTATION

Admission of Hearsay after Crawford v. Washington

Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 60 (2004). “The Confrontation Clause protects the criminally accused against the admission of out-of-court statements that are testimonial in nature, unless the declarant is unavailable and the defendant has had a prior opportunity to cross-examine him.”

“We apply the Confrontation Clause only to testimonial statements, leaving the remainder to regulation by hearsay law.” Id.

Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 129 S. Ct. 2527 (2009). Laboratory analysts’ sworn certificates of analysis were presented at defendant’s drug trafficking trial to establish that seized substance was cocaine. The Court held that the certificates were testimonial statements (affidavits) covered by the Confrontation Clause, and therefore, defendant had a right to cross-examine analysts.

“The affidavits do not qualify as traditional official or business records, and even if they did, their authors would be subject to confrontation nonetheless. Id. at 2538. The constitutional right to confrontation cannot be circumscribed by merely invoking a hearsay exception.
Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, 66 (1980). The Confrontation Clause does not bar admission of an unavailable witness’s statement against a criminal defendant when the statement bears an “adequate”indicia of reliability.’”

Roberts still applies to non-testimonial hearsay.

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