******Please read the post below and respond in 250 words. Give your opinion of the court case and clause. Please include one bluebook citation as well. It can be the article or the clause.*******
The Sixth Amendment outlines one’s rights during a criminal prosecution and includes a “confrontation” clause, which specifically allows a defendant to confront an accuser. The Supreme Court Case of Davis v. Washington explores the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment through the facts of a conviction which occurred as a result of a recorded 9-1-1 emergency call. In this specific case, the victim dialed 9-1-1 and identified her ex-boyfriend, “Davis” as the suspect for a “violation of court order.”
During the subsequent trial, the recorded 9-1-1 call was admitted to evidence, however, the victim did not testify. Davis cited the Confrontation Clause as an objection to the admission of the 9-1-1 call as evidence, but he was convicted. The Court of Appeals and the State Supreme Court upheld the conviction. The case of Davis v. Washingtonincludes facts from a second case in which the victim was independently questioned and had signed an affidavit alleging she was a victim of battery at the hands of petitioner (Hershel). The victim did not testify at the trial, but the affidavit was admitted into evidence, despite the objection of the petitioner. Additionally, the testimony of the officer who interviewed and gathered the statements of the victim were admitted into evidence. The petitioner was ultimately convicted and the Court of Appeals (Indiana) and the Indiana State Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, however, the Indiana Supreme Court noted that the affidavit and testimony was wrongfully admitted into evidence. The fact that the Indiana Supreme Court found that the admission of the affidavit was incorrect, but still upheld the conviction is significant. The Indiana Supreme Court found that, unlike the Washington Supreme Court, specific testimony was in fact a violation of the Confrontation Clause but that such wrongful admission was not significant enough to have influenced a jury, had the testimony and affidavit not be admitted in evidence.
While the facts surrounding the controversial evidence are different in the two cases, it is interesting that two different State Supreme Courts have different opinions of what is not allowed under the Confrontation Clause.The Confrontation Clause does allow for the admission of statements under specific circumstances. The United States Supreme Court needed to determine if the two separate pieces of evidence where in fact under the purview of the Sixth Amendment. This caveat was previously explored and identified in the Supreme Court Case of Crawford v. Washingtonwhich was subsequently cited in Davis v. Washington.
The Court assessed the fact that law enforcement does obtain statements during the initial stages of an investigation when the police are essentially assisting with an emergency, however, once the questioning transitions into fact gathering, the statements would fall under the purview of the Sixth Amendment. For example, the Government may be able to use statements such as those initial statements obtained by an officer when attempting to determine if an emergency exists, the extent of the emergency and who is involved in the alleged emergency. However, once the officer transitions into questions which are to be used at a criminal trial, the statements will then fall under the Sixth Amendment. Essentially, the differentiation is an emergency is occurring versus an emergency previouslyoccurred.
Based on the precedent set in Crawford v. Washington, the Court found that the statements made on the 9-1-1 recording did not fall under the protection of the Sixth Amendment. The United States Supreme Court found that the victim’s statements in the Indiana Case did arise to the level of testimony and under the purview of the Sixth Amendment and therefor disallowed. The rationale behind these decisions is consistent to what was previously determined in Crawford v. Washington. Under the first case, the purpose of the questions in the 9-1-1 call was to provide specific information to responding police for an emergency that is actively occurring. Conversely, in the Indiana case, the emergency had already subsided and the victim was no longer in specific danger.
The question of whether or not statements made to the police can be excluded under the Sixth Amendment is not answered based on the intent of the officer but rather if the questions are posed “under circumstances objectively indicating that the primary purpose of interrogation” is for police to render aid during an active emergency. If, under an assessment, the need for immediate assistance during an emergency is not present, then any subsequent statements will be testimonial and thereby subject to the Sixth Amendment.