Monday, March 7, 2011

Supreme Court Reverses Michigan Supreme Court and Allows Victim's Statement

Admission of police testimony at trial of a statement by a dying victim did not violate confrontation clause.
The Court held that the victim Covington’s identification and description of the shooter and the location of the shooting were not testimonial statements because they had a “primary purpose . . . to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency.”  Therefore, the admission of these statements at Bryant’s trial did not violate the Confrontation Clause.

The facts involve a crime where Michigan police were dispatched to a gas station parking lot and found Anthony Covington wounded and dieing. Covington told police that he had been shot by Bryant, the defendant, outside Bryant’s house. At trial, the officers testified about what Covington said. Bryant was found guilty of second-degree murder.  The Michigan Supreme Court reversed Bryant's conviction, holding that the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause rendered Covington’s statements inadmissible testimonial hearsay.

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