Home Criminal Defense Can opening-the-door proof doctrine violate the confrontation clause? SCOTUS will choose

Can opening-the-door proof doctrine violate the confrontation clause? SCOTUS will choose


Sixth Amendment

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to choose whether or not trial testament for a felony defendant can open the door to rebuttal proof that might in any other case be barred by the confrontation clause.

The court docket agreed to decide the concern within the case of Darrell Hemphill, who was tried for homicide in New York after one other defendant was tried for a similar crime, in keeping with the cert petition.

Hemphill had contended that the opposite defendant was the perpetrator. SCOTUSblog beforehand coated the cert petition here.

The different defendant ended up pleading responsible to possession of a firearm after the homicide prosecution in opposition to him led to a mistrial. The cost stemmed from a shooting throughout a road combat within the Bronx that killed a toddler in a passing automobile. The youngster was killed with a shot from a 9 mm handgun.

The different defendant pleaded responsible to possession of a .357 revolver, though he was at first accused of possessing the 9 mm handgun. During a search of the opposite defendant’s house, police had discovered a 9 mm cartridge and ammunition for a .357 revolver.

At Hemphill’s trial, the protection launched testament about police discovering the 9 mm cartridge on the nightstand of the opposite defendant. In response, the state sought to introduce the opposite defendant’s plea allocution asserting that he had possessed a .357 revolver on the scene of the shooting. A decide overruled a protection objection and allowed the proof. Hemphill was discovered responsible of second-degree homicide.

The decide in Hemphill’s case utilized a New York Court of Appeals choice that enables admission of proof in any other case barred by the confrontation clause when the defendant creates a “misleading impression,” and the proof is required to appropriate that impression. When Hemphill appealed, the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and turned down Hemphill’s confrontation clause declare.

According to the cert petition, it’s agreed {that a} defendant can open the door to in any other case inadmissible proof when it rebuts a problem the defendant has raised. When responsive proof would in any other case be barred by the confrontation clause, nonetheless, courts have “openly split over whether, or under what circumstances, the opening-the-door concept renders the evidence admissible,” the cert petition stated.

An amicus brief submitted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers argued that the opening-the-door doctrine can have “particularly pernicious consequences” for defendants when it limits their confrontation rights.

At his trial, Hemphill “advanced one of the most fundamental and persuasive arguments a criminal defendant can make: Someone else did it. But when his attorney pursued this defense, eliciting testimony about the murder weapon, the trial court held that he had opened the door to a plea allocution in which the alternative suspect admitted to possessing a different weapon at the scene of the crime,” the NACDL amicus transient stated.

“Any competent defense attorney could have poked holes in this narrative by asking the alternative suspect whether he had also possessed the murder weapon or by exploring the motivations behind his plea. But petitioner’s attorney had no such opportunity because the trial court held that, by opening the door to the plea allocution, petitioner had forfeited his Sixth Amendment right to confront the declarant,” in keeping with the amicus transient.

The case is Hemphill v. New York. The SCOTUSblog case page is here.


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