O'Malley Law Office, P.C. Free Initial Consultation
South Denver: 303-731-0719
North Denver: 303-916-9006
Toll free: 866-365-9351

Blog

Evidence: Your Colorado Confrontation Clause Right

ID-10055197.jpgThe Confrontation Clause can be found in the U.S. Constitution's Sixth Amendment, and provides: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to be confronted with the witnesses against him." The gist of this right is that the government can't convict you based on evidence of what people say, who are not present at your trial subject to cross examination in Denver and Jefferson County. The principle further provides that justice is best served when witnesses against you are present in front of the jury, to have their entire self, subject to the jury's scrutiny. Nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, voice tone, dress, and eye contact are useful in assessing the credibility of a witness. Additionally, cross examination puts the testimony to scrutiny.

Crawford's Knock Out Blow to Hearsay Evidence

The U.S. Supreme Court firmly defined constitutional parameters of the Confrontation Clause in 2004, in a case called Crawford v. Washington. In that case, a man was convicted of assault based on stabbing another man. While the defendant, Mr. Crawford, claimed self-defense, the prosecution offered a recorded  statement into evidence by his wife which opposed Mr. Crawford. His wife did not testify based on a state law of marital privilege, which, like in Colorado, prevented the spouse from testifying without the other spouse's consent. In this landmark case, the Supreme Court unanimously held that testimonial hearsay was not permitted unless the witness was unavailable and the defendant had a prior chance to cross examine the witness. Justice Scalia likened the case to British treason trials, which led to the inclusion of the 6th Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

The Government's Other Abuses of Fairness at Trial

In the real world, we see the prosecution wanting to bring in hearsay testimony evidence of adults and children, at trial. The government is not concern with the unfairness of testimony which cannot be cross examined. In many other instances, the District Attorney lobby has set aside notions of fairness and made it easier to bring in past history of a defendant at a current trial, even if the prior history is years old and substantially dissimilar. Most notably, we see this in sexual assault cases in Arapahoe, Douglas and Adams County, where the legislature has encouraged the introduction of prior sexual conduct of a defendant, to prove that the defendant committed the current offense. Technically, it cannot be admitted to prove propensity, but everyone involved, including the judges, know that is what prosecutors and the legislature had in mind. It is foolish to think that a jury will only use the evidence for "permitted" purposes such as motive, intent, or a common plan or scheme.

Our criminal defense lawyers challenge witness testimony based on the Confrontation Clause and many other impermissible purposes. When charged with a Sexual Assault, Theft or Robbery charge, you need a full-time criminal defense attorney at your side. Don't trust your life to a personal injury lawyer trying his hand at criminal law. Call our experienced lawyers at 303-731-0719 today. Together, we can protect your future.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Facing Charges? Get Help Now!

GET HELP NOW!

Tell us about your case and one of our experienced attorneys will get back to you promptly.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Case Results:

  • Sexual Assault and Rape charges related to divorce. Acquittal from jury trial. Weld County, Greeley, Colorado.
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, Possession of Child Pornography. Acquittal from jury trial. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Arson of Nursing Home. Dismissed by Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Felony Drug Distribution. Acquittal from jury trial. Boulder County, Boulder, Colorado.
  • Rape and Sexual Assault charges involving divorce and child custody. Acquittal from jury trial. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Burglary and Felony Theft. Dismissed by District Attorney. Arapahoe County, Englewood, Colorado.
  • Theft of Drugs by Nurse. Dismissed by District Attorney. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, Position of Trust. Acquittal from Jury Trial. Adams County, Brighton, Colorado.
  • Domestic Violence. Dismissed by District Attorney. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Violation of Restraining Order. Dismissed by District Attorney. Douglas County, Castle Rock.

24 hour emergency service Same-day jail visits Free initial consultation Reasonable fees Flexible payment plans

Call Toll free: 866-365-9351 South Denver: 303-731-0719 North Denver: 303-916-9006 Email us

FindLaw Network

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.