Federal appeals court overturns molestor's conviction on Sixth Amendment grounds

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] has set aside the 1988 child-molestation conviction of a Nevada man, ruling that the 2004 US Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Washington [PDF text; JURIST report] limiting hearsay statements applies retroactively and statements made by the 6-year-old victim to authorities should not have been introduced at trial. The Second and Tenth Circuits have also considered the issue and have ruled that Crawford only applied to pending or new cases, creating a split in the circuits. In its opinion [text], the Ninth Circuit wrote:

Marvin Bockting's conviction for sexual abuse and life sentences stem from a trial in which the only witness to the conduct, his six-year old stepdaughter, Autumn Bockting, did not testify at trial, but whose interview with a detective was admitted as key evidence. Autumn's statements at the interview contradicted her testimony at a preliminary hearing where she claimed not to remember what happened with her father. Admission of the interview evidence without cross-examination violated Bockting's constitutional right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him." U.S. Const. amend. VI.
AP has more.

 

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