Giles update

Courtesy of FederalEvidence blog we have an update on Giles.

In Giles v. California [documents at SCOTUSWiki], the Supreme Court [Giles the opinion] considered the application of
the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception under the Confrontation Clause and likely Crawford v. Washington,
which allows an unconfronted testimonial statement to be admitted where
a defendant commits a wrongful act that makes the witness unavailable
to testify at trial.

The accused had shot and killed the witness whose statements the prosecution used.

Following U.S. Supreme Court remand, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District holds that the admission of the victim’s statement violated the Confrontation Clause and the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, requiring reversal of the judgment and a remand to the trial court, in People v. Giles, (No. B166937).

The Forfeiture by Wrongdoing exception under the Confrontation Clause
did not apply “[b]ecause the prosecutor presented no evidence that
appellant killed Avie with intent to prevent her from testifying or
cooperating in a criminal prosecution.” This determination was also
made “without prejudice to the trial court's assessment of any
foundational showing upon retrial.”

The prosecution will have the opportunity to present evidence at the retrial to show that Giles killed the witness with the intent that the witness be unavailable to testify against him.  If the prosecution does that it seems that the forfeiture of the right to confront through the accused's own wrongdoing will apply.

More summary and analysis here at FederalEvidence blog.

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