December 2005 Vol. 104 No. 3 THE REVIEW

Expanding Forfeiture without Sacrificing Confrontation after Crawford

Joshua Deahl

The central holding of Crawford v. Washington is fairly straightforward: The Confrontation Clause bars the admission of out-of-court testimonial statements unless the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Crawford, however, has an often overlooked caveat. In renouncing numerous exceptions to the confrontation right, the Court rejected only those that purport to test the reliability of testimonial statements. It left equitable exceptions undisturbed. As the Court pointed out, “[T]he rule of forfeiture by wrongdoing (which we accept) extinguishes confrontation claims on essentially equitable grounds.”

The parameters of the rule of forfeiture are a matter of some dispute. As opposed to a waiver, which requires a knowing and intelligent relinquishment of a right, forfeiture occurs when an individual commits an act inconsistent with maintaining a right. It has traditionally applied in witness-tampering cases, where a defendant intimidates, bribes or kills a witness just before she is scheduled to testify. In those situations, forfeiture should bar the defendant from successfully objecting to the admission of the witness’s prior unconfronted testimony.

   //  VIEW PDF
& Other Current Events

Speedy Trial as a Viable Challenge to Chronic Underfunding in Indigent-Defense Systems

Across the country, underresourced indigent-defense systems create delays in taking cases to trial...

A Blended Approach to Reducing the Costs of Shareholder Litigation

Multiforum litigation and federal securities law class actions impose heavy costs on corporations and...

The Scope of Precedent

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales...

Reinventing Copyright and Patent

Intellectual property systems all over the world are modeled on a one-size-fits-all principle. However...

Protecting Whistleblower Protections in the Dodd-Frank Act

In 2008, the United States fell into its worst economic recession in over seventy years. In response,...
MAILING LIST
Sign Up to Join Our Mailing List