Division II: Murder Conviction Stands Despite Sixth Amendment Violation
Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you have the right to confront witnesses. This means that in big cases, sometimes you have to split up defendants, so that one defendant’s confession can’t be used against the other defendant. I mean, you could tell the jury to disregard it, but lets be real here. That bell can’t be unrung. Here, the transcript of a co-defendant was used at trial, and simply substituting the name of the defendant with “the first guy,” when it still pretty clearly points to the defendant doesn’t exactly resolve the issue.
Now here, the Court said that that little substitution did amount to a violation. There was a another pretty clear violation when the redaction just didn’t happen, and they referred to him by name. but that it was harmless error, and that it wouldn’t have had a difference beyond a reasonable doubt.
So what was the other evidence?
- Cell phone records placing him at the scene
- Eyewitness identification
- Confessing guilt to a fellow inmate
- Disclosing details only known to law enforcement
Now, the first two may not have held much effect. However, the last two are pretty rock solid. The conviction stands.