High Court Hearing Arguments In New Confrontation Clause Case


The Supreme Court starts its new term on Monday. On Tuesday, it will hear arguments on whether a statement by a dying victim was made during an “ongoing emergency” and can be admitted without violating the defendant's rights under the Confrontation Clause, says Scotusblog.com. Under the Confrontation Clause of the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, a criminal defendant has the right to cross-examine any witness who testifies against him. In limited circumstances, witness statements can be presented at trial even when the witness is unavailable for cross-examination.

In a case from Michigan, the court will consider whether a statement made to police officers by a shooting victim who later died was properly admitted at the murder trial of Richard Bryant. In 2001, Detroit police officers found Anthony Covington with a gunshot wound in his abdomen. Covington indicated that he had been shot by a person named “Rick” and gave the address of Richard Bryant's residence as the scene of the crime. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed Bryant’s conviction, saying the information provided by the deceased Covington should not have been admitted.

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