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Decision in Ohio v. Clark, US SCt. No. 13-1352

Friday, June 19, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Taylor Stockdell
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In Ohio v Clark, US S Ct. No. 13-1352, the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded a decision by the Supreme Court of Ohio which held that the introduction of a toddler’s statements about his victimization to his teacher violated the Confrontation Clause because the statements were testimonial. The Court used the “primary purpose” test established in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 54, in which a statement is considered testimonial if the “primary purpose” of the conversation was to “creat[e] an out-of-court substitute for trial testimony.” The Court determined that because: (1) the statements occurred in the context of an ongoing emergency involving suspected child abuse, (2) it was clear the statements were gathered by the teacher in an attempt to protect the child, not to prosecute the abuser, and (3) statements by young children rarely, if ever, implicate the Confrontation Clause, that the statements were not testimonial. The Court stated that even though Ohio has mandatory reporting laws for teachers, the teacher’s questions of concern do not equate to an official police interrogation. Justice Ginsburg joined Justice Scalia in a separate concurrence, writing separately to “protest the Court’s shoveling of fresh dirt upon the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation so recently rescued from the grave in Crawford v. Washington.”


The full opinion can be found here:

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