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March 30, 2007

Fifth Circuit rejects application of Crawford at capital sentencing

Thanks to How Appealing, I see that the Fifth Circuit has issued a very lengthy opinion in US v. Fields, No. 04-50393 (5th Cir. Mar. 29, 2007) (available here), addressing whether the Confrontation Clause applies at the penalty phase of a capital case.  I believe the circuit courts are split on this issue, and so was the Fifth Circuit panel in Fields: Judges Jerry Smith and Carolyn Dineen King rejected the application of Crawford at capital sentencing; Judge Fortunato P. Benavides dissented on this point.

I suspect this issue might before long capture the attention of the Supreme Court.

March 30, 2007 at 07:56 AM | Permalink


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The issue is cert-worthy. SCOTUS R. 10.

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 30, 2007 3:52:39 PM

It certainly is. If every fact required to impose a particular sentence is an element, then a proceeding to find those facts before a jury is a sixth amendment trial. Why would one part of the 6th amendment apply (the jury trial right) and another not apply (the confrontation right)?

Posted by: Anon | Mar 31, 2007 4:33:43 PM

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