Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sixth Circuit: 911 call testimonial under Crawford v Washington

In US v Arnold, the Sixth Circuit held that a 911 call from a crime victim was testimonial because the caller "could reasonably expect that her statements would be used to prosecute" the defendant. (US v Arnold, 2005 Fed App 0269P.) I won't dissect the opinion further, because the Confrontation Blog has already done an excellent job explaining Arnold here. And although I usually constrain this blog to issues of New York criminal law, I think this decision is a very important one for any criminal defense lawyer--practicing in New York or otherwise--to have in his or her pocket post-Crawford, particularly since most of the reported decisions on 911 calls have gone the other way (i.e. courts have found 911 calls nontestimonial and therefore subject to the classic hearsay exceptions). It is nice to have a thoughtful, well-written decision from a Circuit Court of Appeals holding that 911 calls are testimonial to point a trial court towards (even if the case originated in Tennesee--we'll take what we can get).