Are Testimonial Hearsay Statements of a Witness Who Is Unavailable at Trial Admissible ?
A defendant is entitled to confront the witnesses against him by the confrontation clauses of both the United States and Illinois Constitutions. U.S. Const., amend. VI; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, 8.
In Crawford v. Washington, the Supreme Court further interpreted the confrontation clause and held that the testimonial hearsay statements of a witness who is unavailable at trial may not be admitted against a criminal defendant unless the defendant had a prior opportunity for cross-examination. Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177, 203, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 1374 (2004).
The Crawford Court reiterated that "when the declarant appears for cross-examination at trial, the Confrontation Clause places no constraints at all on the use of his prior testimonial statements." Crawford, 541 U.S. at 60 n.9, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 198 n.9, 124 S. Ct. at 1370 n.9.