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The Crawford v. Washington case, decided in 2004 was literally earth shattering.

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The Crawford v. Washington case, decided in 2004 was literally earth shattering. It fundamentally changed the admissibility of hearsay in criminal cases and significantly diminished the importance of hearsay exceptions. Unfortunately, in some cases, for various reasons, hearsay is the only evidence available, and it may actually be quite reliable. Professor Clemency was involved in two such cases. In one, Professor Clemency defended a man who was charged with raping an eighty-year-old woman. The case was charged about seven years after the fact as a result of a DNA “cold hit.” Prior to the case getting to trial, the victim died, of natural causes unrelated to the rape. Virtually the entire prosecution case was based on hearsay statements the victim made to the police, to the medical professionals who treated her, etc. The case went to trial prior to the decision in the decision in the Crawford case. The hearsay statements were admitted under various exceptions to the hearsay rule, and the defendant was convicted. He received fifty-nine years in prison and will surely die there. In another case, Professor Clemency defended a gang member who shot one person dead and wounded two others. The deceased victim, obviously, was not available to testify. The two he wounded were (understandably) terrified at the prospect of testifying. At the time of the shooting, they made statements to the police to the effect that the defendant was the shooter. Prior to trial, they fled to Texas and went into hiding to avoid testifying. This case went to trial after the Crawford case, so none of the earlier statements were admissible. The defendant wound up beating the murder charge and the aggravated assault charges. 1. Concisely state the holding in the Crawford case. 2. What is more important: The defendant’s right to confront and cross-examine his or her accusers, or that all important evidence (even if it is hearsay) be made available to the jury to consider? 3. If you were the Supreme Court how would you resolve this conflict?

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