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Court bolsters defendant’s right to cross-examine witnesses

elisfkc2 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has bolstered a criminal defendant’s right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses. The justices ruled on Thursday in favor of a New York man who was convicted of killing a two-year-old boy on Easter Sunday in 2006. By an 8-1 vote, the justices held that defendant Darrell Hemphill’s constitutional rights were violated when a judge allowed jurors to read another man’s testimony that prosecutors used to undermine Hemphill’s defense. The other man was unavailable at Hemphill’s trial. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that judge should not have allowed jurors to see that man’s statement. Sotomayor invoked the constitutional provision that gives defendants the right to confront their accusers.

Associated Press

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