Michelle McCottry’s tape-recorded call helped put Adrian Davis in prison in 2001. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether juries should hear such 911 tapes when the caller, like McCottry, is unwilling to take the witness stand, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. On Monday, Seattle attorneys will argue Davis’ case — which could hinder domestic violence convictions across the country by taking away evidence prosecutors have relied on for years. “It’s probably one of the most significant criminal cases to go before the U.S. Supreme Court in the last decade,” said King County Deputy Prosecutor James Whisman. “If it goes against us, our modern practices for dealing with domestic violence prosecution will be in serious peril.”
Davis’ attorney, Jeffrey Fisher, said the case is crucial for people who are accused of crimes because a core constitutional right is at stake: making sure the person pointing the finger is being truthful. Fisher will argue that jurors shouldn’t be allowed to hear someone’s frantic report to 911 unless the caller testifies in court, under oath, about what happened and can be cross-examined by the attorneys for the person who stands accused of a crime. If the Supreme Court sides with Davis, now 40, it could open the door for people who have been convicted of crimes using 911 evidence — particularly those who are still appealing their cases — to fight their convictions.