Introduction

A general introduction to the confrontation clause:
Introduction

  1. : Under Crawford v. Washington , 541 U.S. 36 (2004) . Crawford overturned the Ohio v. Roberts , 448 U.S. 56 (1980) decision, under which judges determined the substantive reliability of out-of- court statements. Crawford returned to the historical roots of the Confrontation Clause, which is a procedural guarantee “not that evidence be reliable, but that reliability be assessed in a particular manner; by testing in the crucible of cross- examination.”   Crawford , 541 U.S. at 61.
  2. The Crawford Court declined to provide a comprehensive definition of “testimonial.” The definition has been the subject of thousands of judicial decisions since the Court decided Crawford , and is discussed in Part IV.B., below.
  3. Witness Present at Trial. “[W]hen the declarant appears for cross-examination at trial the Confrontation Clause places no constraints at all on the use of his prior testimonial statements….The Clause does not bar admission of a statement so long as the declarant is present at trial to defend or explain it.” Crawford , 541 U.S. at 59.