Statements To Police By Victim Who Later Died Are Admissible, High Court Says


In a new interpretation of the Constitution’s Confrontation Clause, a divided Supreme Court ruled today that a statement given to police by a wounded crime victim may be admitted as evidence at the trial if the victim dies before trial and thus does not appear, reports The 6-to-2 opinion written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that a statement that identified the shooter was made for the primary purpose of enabling enable police to deal with an emergency rather than the primary purpose of producing evidence of the crime,

Four years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that a statement resulting from a police interrogation may be presented at trial, even if the witness is unavailable to testify, if its “primary purpose” was to meet an “ongoing emergency.” Today’s case overturned a lower court ruling in a Michigan case that said statements to police by wounded victim Anthony Covington about defendant Richard Bryant were inadmissible. in a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, who has been a strong defender of a defendant’s right to confront an accuser, said that today’s ruling “distorts our Confrontation Clause jurisprudence and leaves it in a shambles.”

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