No “Forefeiture by Wrongdoing” Rule in New Jersey – State v. Byrd

The Federal Rules of Evidence provide a hearsay exception which will admit in evidence the statement of a non-testifying witness who has been threatened by a defendant. This Rule is known as “Forfeiture by Wrongdoing” and it will even supersede the confrontation clause protections discussed by the Supreme Court in Crawford v. Washington. However, in this morning’s Appellate Division decision in State v. Byrd, the Court ruled that New Jersey has no comparable hearsay exception in our Rules of Evidence. Accordingly, admission of such a hearsay statement at trial deprived the defendants of their confrontation rights and entitled them to a new trial.

Download a copy of State v. Byrd.

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