March 21, 2006

I thought he HATED the little guy....

Seems as if the Supremes are about to side 8-1 with the bad guys:

The Supreme Court justices, with the exception of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sounded Monday as if they were likely to bar prosecutors from using in court the words of alleged crime victims who speak to authorities but later refuse to testify. Such a ruling would greatly strengthen the right of defendants to be confronted with the witnesses against them, in the Constitution's words. However, it would be a major setback for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, who often are afraid to testify against their abusers.
And no, that "1" isn't John Roberts, it's Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As James Joyner says,

"The bottom line, though, is that the accused's rights to confront his accuser in a manner that allows the jury to judge the demeanor of said accuser is paramount. A 911 call might be quite compelling but lacks a visual component. For all the jury knows, it could be staged by a spiteful ex-lover. It is harder to lie in open court than via telephone.
The irony here is that it is the liberal Justice (and blogger) taking the side of the accuser while the conservative Justice... [is] taking up for the rights of the accused."
What do you think?

Posted by caltechgirl at March 21, 2006 03:41 PM | TrackBack

The constitution does say they have the right to face their accuser. I think they actually upheld the Constitution this time.

Posted by: Contagion at March 21, 2006 04:57 PM

Contagion, they haven't done anything yet. David Savage at the LA Times is just specualting based on the oral arguments. But I'm very much inclined to side with the apparent majority here: the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant's right to confront their accuser. In practice, that means live testimony in open court, subject to cross-examination.

Posted by: Dave J at March 21, 2006 10:42 PM