JLR 2024 Symposium:

    Crawford at 20: Reforming the Confrontation Clause

    Date: March 8, 2024

    Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004) represented a monumental shift in evidence law. In Crawford, the Supreme Court  confirmed that the 6th Amendment protects the right for criminal defendants to cross-examine witnesses testifying against them in trial. The case involved the admission of hearsay evidence against Mr. Crawford, who was accused of assault. The Supreme Court ruled that the admission of such evidence violated his Sixth Amendment rights, as the hearsay statements were made outside of the trial and were not subject to cross-examination. Prior to Crawford, whether testimony could be entered into trial depended on the myriad exceptions to assess the reliability of the evidence.However, the Crawford Court wrote that the 6th Amendment “commands, not that evidence be reliable, but that reliability be assessed in a particular manner: by testing in the crucible of cross-examination.” This ruling significantly strengthened defendants’ rights in criminal trials and set new standards for the admissibility of evidence. State and federal courts have applied Crawford to determine the admissibility of hearsay evidence in numerous cases. 

    March 8, 2024 will mark the 20th anniversary of Crawford and the start to a long line of cases that contemplated the limits of testimonial evidence. This symposium will recognize the monumental reform that stemmed from Crawford and its progeny and provide a forum to discuss what areas warrant further change. Celebrating the anniversary of this monumental decision recognizes the significant impact Crawford has had in the law and provides an avenue for scholars and practitioners to envision change through discussion.