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Crawford v. Washington

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 543 U.S. 1095

Brief Fact Summary. Petitioner’s wife gave a tape-recorded description of the stabbing her husband was involved in. The tape was played at trial, but she did not testify.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. “[W]here testimonial statements are at issue, the only indicium of reliability sufficient to satisfy constitutional demands is confrontation.”

Facts. Petitioner stabbed a man who allegedly tried to rape his wife. He and his wife, Sylvia, were arrested and interrogated. Sylvia’s statement cast doubt on her husband’s assertion of self-defense. At petitioner’s trial, Sylvia’s tape was used at trial, although she herself did not testify due to Washington’s martial privilege rule. Petitioner objected. Prosecutor invoked a hearsay exception. The Washington Court of Appeals, after applying a nine-part test, it upheld the conviction.

Issue. “[W]hether the State’s use of Sylvia’s statement violated the Confrontation Clause.”

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