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U.S. Supreme Court Vacates Giles Murder Conviction  

Author:  Anne L.  Perry, Esq..

Source: Volume 14, Number 01, October/November 2008 , pp.1-2(2)

Domestic Violence Report

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In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the California Supreme Court’s theory of “forfeiture by wrongdoing” was not an exception to the Sixth Amendment’s right to confront witnesses as it was not established as a “founding era exception” or in American jurisprudence since that time. Giles v. California, 128 S.Ct. 2678 (2008). The Court considered “whether a defendant forfeits his Sixth Amendment right to confront a witness against him when a judge determines that a wrongful act by the defendant made the witness unavailable to testify at trial.” Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, determined that such unconfronted testimony was inadmissible without a showing that the defendant intended to prevent a witness from testifying. In so holding, the Court vacated Dwayne Giles’ conviction for the first degree murder of his former girlfriend, Brenda Avie. This article discusses the issues and implications of the case. In a forthcoming issue of DVR Joan Meier will explain how prosecutors should handle cases after Giles.

Keywords: Crawford v. Washington; Dissenters Conclude That Forfeiture by Wrongdoing Applies to Giles

Affiliations:  1: Contributing Editor at DVR.

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