Supreme Court to Review Crawford v. Washington Issues & Procedures

On May 16th, the New Jersey Supreme Court certified 4 cases for review, each of which deals with distinct substantive and procedural issues related to the United State Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004). This will be the first time the Justices have had the opportunity to discuss the impact of Crawford in detail in a New Jersey case. Apart from the cases under review, the Court’s decisions may also affect at least two additional “Crawford” decisions by the Appellate Division, State v. Renshaw, 390 N.J. Super 456 (App. Div. 2007) (defendant may confront person who drew blood sample in DWI case) and State v. Kent, 391 N.J. Super. 352 (App. Div. 2007) (failure by defendant to request confrontation of person who drew blood sample or tested the sample in a DWI prosecution constitutes waiver). The cases that will be reviewed are the following:

C-1207-05 State v. William G. Sweet
Supreme Court Docket No. 59,661
Order Filed May 16, 2007
Appellate Division Decision Filed May 4, 2006

This unpublished decision is a case where the Crawford issue related to the admissibility of Breath Test Instrument Inspection Certificates in a DWI prosecution. These documents have been held to be non-testimonial within the meaning of Crawford by the Law Division in State v, Godshalk, 381 N.J. Super. 326 (Law Div. 2005) and by the Appellate Division earlier this month in State v. Dorman, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2007).

C-55-06 State of New Jersey in the Interest of J.A.
Supreme Court Docket No. 59,684
Order Filed May 16, 2007
App. Div. Reported at 385 N.J. Super. 544 (2006)

This case relates to statements given to the police in a rapidly unfolding investigation. The statements were deemed to be non-testimonial.

C-85-06 State of New Jersey v. Richard F. Berezansky
Supreme Court Docket No. 59,857
Order Filed May 16, 2007
App. Div. reported at 386 N.J. Super. 84 (2006)

The Court ruled that blood test result certificates in a DWI prosecution were testimonial within the meaning of Crawford.

C-793-06 State v. Ryan Buda
C-794-06 Supreme Court Docket No. 60,611
Order Filed May 16, 2007

App. Div. Reported at 389 N.J. Super. 241 (2006)

This decision held that statements made by a small child to a DYFS investigator were testimonial within the meaning of Crawford.

No date has been set for argument; although it is likely the cases will be argued and decided together.

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