Document Type

Commentary

Publication Date

2006

Abstract

I closed my petition for certiorari in Hammon v. Indiana by declaring, “ ‘We really mean it!’ is the message that lower courts need to hear, and that decision of this case can send.” The prior year, Crawford v. Washington had transformed the law of the Confrontation Clause, holding that an out-ofcourt statement that is testimonial in nature may be admitted against an accused only if the maker of the statement is unavailable and the accused has had an opportunity to cross-examine her. But Crawford deliberately left undetermined what the term “testimonial” meant. Many lower courts gave it a grudging interpretation, devising a range of doctrines that allowed them to continue much as they had before, admitting out-of-court statements that they deemed sufficiently reliable even though the accused never had an opportunity to cross-examine the maker of the statement.