Amicus Briefs ~ 2004

Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004) U.S. Supreme Court Amicus curiae brief of NACDL, ACLU and ACLU of Washington. Crawford overruled Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56 (1980), which until 2004 allowed introduction of hearsay statements with "particularized guarantees of trustworthiness." The Court (Scalia, J.) ruled 7-2 that the Sixth Amendment "commands, not that evidence be reliable, but that reliability be assessed in a particular manner: by testing in the crucible of cross-examination." 124 S.Ct. at 1370. The Court emphasized that Confrontation Clause protection only applies to "testimonial" out-of-court statements, such as statements against penal interest (the statement at issue in this case). Encouragingly, the Court acknowledged its ruling creates some tension with other hearsay exceptions, such as spontaneous ("excited") utterances; the Court specifically refused to decide whether the Sixth Amendment incorporates an "historical" exception for dying declarations. Authors: Jeffrey T. Green, et al. 

Roper v. Simmons, U.S. Sup. Ct., No. 03-633. Amici Curiae brief, The joint brief argues that evolving standards of decency now make it clear that imposition of the death penalty on an individual who commits a murder at age 17 is cruel and unusual in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Also: Amicus Curiae brief, USSupCt., No. 03-633. Human Rights Committee of the Bar of England and Wales, et al.

Merits Reply Brief of Appellant Martha Stewart, Testimonial co-defendant statement (Crawford hearsay) issues; perjury by government expert witness; more.

Shepard v. United States, U.S. Sup. Ct., No. 03-9168. NACDL Amicus Curiae brief arguing that (I) Almendarez-Torres v. United States, 523 U.S. 224 (1998) was wrongly decided, has been eroded by subsequent cases, and should be overruled, and (II) in the alternative, the Court should reverse and clarify that the government bears the burden of proving prior convictions through reliable evidence that reflects adversarial testing.

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us