Are Prior Convictions ''Testimonial'' in California ?
In Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36, the United States Supreme Court held that the confrontation clause bars "admission of testimonial statements of a witness who did not appear at trial unless he was unavailable to testify, and the defendant had had a prior opportunity for cross-examination." (Id. at pp. 53-54 at p. 194.)
People v. Taulton (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 1218, 1221, held "records of prior convictions are not 'testimonial'" and thus not subject to Crawford's confrontation requirements. "Crawford supports a conclusion that the test for determining whether a statement is 'testimonial' is not whether its use in a potential trial is foreseeable, but whether it was obtained for the purpose of potentially using it in a criminal trial or determining if a criminal charge should issue." (Taulton, supra, 129 Cal.App.4th at p. 1224.)
Taulton found "enlightening" Crawford's mention that business records are not testimonial. (Ibid.) Taulton concluded prior conviction records under section 969b "are prepared to document acts and events relating to convictions and imprisonments. Although they may ultimately be used in criminal proceedings, as the documents were here, they are not prepared for the purpose of providing evidence in criminal trials or for determining whether criminal charges should issue. Therefore, these records are beyond the scope of Crawford . . . ." (Taulton, supra, 129 Cal.App.4th at p. 1225.)