The Prosecutors’ Resource on Crawford and its Progeny

There are many barriers to victims’ participation in the prosecution of their abusers. When prosecuting a domestic violence case with a non-participating victim (one who either is not in court, or who is in court but is unavailable by reason of refusal to testify, exercise of a privilege, illness, or incompetency) the prosecutor must anticipate a challenge under Crawford v. Washington to the introduction of the victim’s out-of-court statements. Crawford and its progeny are landmark cases that address the admissibility of out-of-court statements in light of an accused’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation. This Resource focuses on interpretations of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause under Crawford. The prosecutor must be aware, however, of the simultaneous need to satisfy state evidence rules concerning hearsay. This paper places Crawford in its historical context, presents a framework for analyzing admissibility of out-of-court statements under the Crawford rules, and provides resources, sample questions, and strategy suggestions to assist the prosecutor in satisfying the confrontation requirements under the Sixth Amendment.