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Maximum Confusion: A Prosecutor’s View of Crawford v. Washington

By Donald LaRoche
October 01, 2004
In Crawford v. Washington, the Supreme Court decided that the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment bars admission of the testimonial statements of an unavailable witness absent an opportunity for cross-examination. The Court’s decision left judges and prosecutors, on the federal and state levels, in the dark as to the definition of “testimonial evidence.” The admissibility of statements made to the police by a witness during or immediately following a startling event is particularly unclear. This article will discuss Crawford and how the decision has been treated with regards to “police interrogations” in the short time since its issuance. As will be seen, the Supreme Court has yet again left prosecutors, defense counsel and judges with an unclear decision that insures maximum confusion and numerous appeals....