Accomplice’s Out-of-Court Confession Was Inadmissible Testimonial Hearsay Which Violated the Confrontation Rights of the Defendant
June 25th, 2018

In People v. Hopson (2017) 3 Cal.5th 424 a murder conviction was reversed because the judge admitted the deceased co-perpetrator’s confession to the police. Admission of this out-of-court confession — which “pinned much of the blame on defendant” – violated defendant’s Confrontation Clause rights because it constituted inadmissible hearsay.  In so holding, the California Supreme Court rejected prosecution arguments that the confession was admitted solely to rebut defendant’s testimony.  To the contrary, in order to undermine her testimony, the jury necessarily had to consider the confession for its truth, and it was used “to contradict defendant’s testimony by establishing a different account of the events surrounding the crime, which the prosecution expressly and repeatedly invited the jury to consider for its truth.”

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