⒈ 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause

Friday, January 07, 2022 6:02:25 AM

6th Amendment Confrontation Clause

Public defense lawyers have 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause time or support to 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause cases, question witnesses, and prepare vigorous defenses. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a cluster of rights designed to make criminal prosecutions more accurate, fair, 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause legitimate. Blog 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause Happy 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause, Bill of Rights! WingoU. 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause converse is equally true: merely because evidence is admitted in violation of a 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause hearsay rule does not 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause to the automatic conclusion that confrontation 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause have Characteristics Of An Alpine Biome denied.

Confrontation Clause Overview

Witnesses told law enforcement the gunman wore a light blue shirt or sweater and placed Nicholas Morris with Gilliam during the fight. Witnesses also identified Gilliam as a suspect in the shooting and Morris as a known associate of Gilliam. Law enforcement observed bruised knuckles consistent with fist-fighting when Morris was arrested. Three witnesses identified Morris in a lineup. Gilliam also claimed Hemphill disposed of the never-recovered murder weapon.

The parties agreed to a mistrial after Morris outlined exculpatory evidence during opening statements. New York recharged Morris with possession of a. New York also agreed that Morris had served sufficient time, enabling his release. Gilliam testified against Hemphill pursuant to a plea agreement for a five-year sentence. Gilliam testified to the presence of two guns, despite having mentioned only one gun up to that point. According to Gilliam, Morris carried a. Gilliam said that Hemphill disposed of both weapons. Typically, this out-of-court statement would have been inadmissible under the Sixth Amendment, which generally gives defendants the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.

Under People v. Crawford v. Washington a landmark decision from , triggers the confrontation clause against testimonial hearsay at trial where the defendant had no prior opportunity to cross-examine the declarant. The framers also intended to exclude testimonial statements of absent witnesses without a showing of unavailability and a prior opportunity for cross-examination. No post- Crawford jurisprudence provides a standard to judge the relinquishment of the confrontation clause right.

What New York argues as an issue of procedure that evens the playing field by curing an improper strategy, the court could see as one of substance that directly implicates the confrontation clause. Finally, members of the court may have taken note of arguments to apply confrontation rights beyond trial. A federal district court recently rejected confrontation at suppression hearings but noted a number of questions remained surrounding the scope and applicability of the Sixth Amendment confrontation clause. This case could answer one of the most vital of those remaining questions. This Clause combined with other constitutional provisions also now impliedly guarantees defendants the right to testify in their own defense if they wish.

The Confrontation Clause requires prosecution witnesses to testify under oath and subject to cross-examination; except for small children who would be traumatized by the process, they must also testify in court and in the presence of the defendant. To preserve the integrity of these confrontation requirements, the Court also held in Crawford v. So if, for example, the police investigate a crime and a witness identifies the defendant in order to have him arrested and charged, the prosecution cannot use that statement as evidence in court against the defendant, unless the witness is brought to court so that the defendant can cross-examine him.

A jury must come from a pool representing a fair cross-section of the local community. Despite the history to the contrary, a jury may consist of as few as six members though nearly all states require the traditional twelve. The Jury Trial Clause, combined with the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, also forbids conviction unless the prosecution proves every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Louisiana and Oregon, therefore, have continued to allow non-capital convictions by and votes. Yet the Supreme Court has refused to hold that the Sixth Amendment entitles defendants to have juries instructed about that power or even advised about the sentencing consequences of the charges.

The Founders would have a hard time recognizing modern American criminal justice. Lawyers and judges have made the rules of procedure and evidence too complex and time-consuming. In response, courts have blessed a number of efficient but dubious shortcuts, ranging from smaller and non-unanimous juries to exerting enormous pressure to plead guilty and dispense with trials and the need to for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. These cost-cutting measures have come at a high price, making criminal justice hidden, opaque, and impenetrable to non-lawyers. To improve matters, we should take the following measures: concentrate our limited funds for appointed defense lawyers for more serious crimes, mainly felonies; make it easier for defendants to defend themselves in the most minor cases; limit some pressures to plead guilty; and streamline jury trials so they can be more widely available.

While some of these changes are matters for courts in interpreting the Sixth Amendment, others require legislative reforms. Not everything that is wise or fair is required by the Constitution. Currently, defense lawyering for the poor is a mess. The Supreme Court has made the Sixth Amendment right to appointed lawyers too broad, reaching not only felonies but also misdemeanors involving any jail time or even a suspended sentence. But even after courts announce a new right, legislatures must decide how to implement and fund it. Criminal defendants are hardly a popular constituency, so indigent defense is chronically underfunded.

Thus, public defenders and other appointed lawyers must juggle hundreds of cases at a time, often meeting their clients for the first time and then immediately urging them to plead guilty on the spot. Public defense lawyers have little time or support to investigate cases, question witnesses, and prepare vigorous defenses. Courts should instead limit the right to appointed lawyers to felonies punishable by a year or more in prison plus the most serious misdemeanors, including those that trigger serious consequences like deportation.

Courts could even find that defense lawyers whose caseloads and resources are far out of line are presumptively unable to provide the effective assistance required by the Sixth Amendment. By contrast, crimes with little jail time or only suspended sentences should have much simpler rules of evidence and procedure, like small claims court, so ordinary people could defend themselves with a little help from the judge and court clerk. Courts should not require appointed lawyers in such cases, at least where the rules of procedure and evidence are simple enough for non-lawyers to navigate by themselves.

The Founders thought the jury trial right was even more important than the right to counsel; it is backwards that courts require lawyers for minor cases that do not trigger jury trials and are thus much simpler. Legislatures should also limit the kinds of threats that could coerce even an innocent defendant to plead guilty. Some defendants will accept probation or short prison sentences simply because it is too risky to insist upon going to trial. Likewise, being jailed pending trial can pressure innocent defendants to plead guilty to minor crimes in exchange for time served.

Better yet, juries could play more of a role at sentencing. Instead, juries could impose sentences, perhaps after considering the plea offer as well as what the defendant deserves. Minor crimes could be handled like speeding tickets or tried much sooner and faster, reserving pretrial detention for defendants who are dangerous or extremely likely to flee.

Unlike Professor Fisher, I do not believe that the Sixth Amendment requires jurors to know or authorize punishments, except for the death penalty and for the line between felonies and misdemeanors. But I agree that these reforms would be wise policy, limiting pressures to plead guilty. Streamlining trials should extend not only to the rules of procedure and evidence, but also to the kinds of evidence that demand live witness testimony. The core of a trial is the face-to-face accusation by the victim and other fact witnesses who saw the crime. Thus, the Confrontation Clause rightly bars using out-of-court interrogation as a substitute for live testimony. Many other kinds of evidence, however, such as well-established scientific testimony, are generally more cut-and-dried.

Once in a while, the defense lawyer genuinely wants to question the way a drug analysis was performed or whether the analyst was competent and honest. Defendants also have a Sixth Amendment right to challenge the foundations of junk science; in recent years, hair analysis, arson investigations, and shaken baby syndrome have been shown to be deeply flawed and unreliable bodies of knowledge. These forensic reports are not analogous to the police interrogations that the Founders feared could be used to circumvent live testimony.

The Supreme Court has done much in recent decades to implement and to fortify the protections of the Sixth Amendment in our ever-changing criminal justice system. But there is still important work that can and should be done. More than anything, the Court needs to revitalize the right to jury trial in a criminal case the only right guaranteed both in the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

At the time of the Founding, jury service was honorable work—a key component of citizenship. Nowadays, adults often greet a jury summons with derision—as an annoyance to be avoided if possible. There is good reason to think that the Sixth Amendment should allow defendants to demand that that juries be instructed of the full scope of their power. First and foremost, juries should be told what potential punishments would follow from any given charge. Perhaps juries should also be told explicitly of their nullification power. Fully informed juries would embolden more defendants to proceed to trial. It also would provide a powerful antidote against the modern incentive legislatures have to expose defendants to exorbitant sentences for run-of-the-mill offenses, and thereby, allow prosecutors to threaten to seek such sentences unless defendants plead guilty.

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