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Evidence Keyed to Park
Crawford v. Washington
Citation:541 U.S. 36 (2004)
Michael Crawford was tried on charges of assault and attempted murder, growing out of a knife fight with Kenny Lee. Crawford acknowledged stabbing Lee but claimed self-defense. Crawford’s wife Sylvia, after having been read the Miranda warnings, gave police an audio-recorded account that was similar in many respects to Crawford’s, but she appeared not to contend that Lee was reaching for a weapon. Sylvia did not testify at trial because Michael did not waive Washington’s marital privilege. But that privilege did not extend to Sylvia’s out-of-court statements, so the prosecution, over an objection based on the Confrontation Clause, played for the jury the recording of Sylvia’s account as refuting Crawford’s claim of self-defense. Crawford was convicted and appealed. The then-prevailing doctrine governing the Confrontation Clause was developed by Ohio v. Roberts. Under that doctrine, the principal question in determining whether an out-of-court statement could be admitted for the truth of the assertion was whether the statement was marked by sufficient indicia of reliability.
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