Oh the Things I Learn

NYT: Mr. Obama’s statement on Friday said that "the use of hearsay will be limited."

But the filing showed that military prosecutors would continue to rely extensively on hearsay evidence that might be barred in federal court. A memorandum describing the administration’s changes that was filed with the military judges said that such "hearsay admissibility remains much broader than in domestic courts" in the United States.

One of the senior administration officials said that although federal courts bar many kinds of hearsay evidence, "the hearsay rule is not one of those things that is rooted in American values."

Really? "the hearsay rule is not one of those things that is rooted in American values"? Really?

Far be it from ME to question an official from the Obama Administration. After all, the president was a constitutional law professor. And yet some crazy blogger calls foul.

So i googled "history hearsay rule", which brought me to a discussion of the 6th Amendment of the US constitution.

The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him."

The Confrontation Clause has its roots in both English common law, protecting the right of cross-examination, and Roman law, which guaranteed persons accused of a crime the right to look their accusers in the eye. According to Acts of the Apostles 25:16, the Roman governor Porcius Festus, discussing the proper treatment of his prisoner Paul, stated: "It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man up to die before the accused has met his accusers face-to-face, and has been given a chance to defend himself against the charges."

Many decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States have affirmed the right of the accused under the Confrontation Clause to have a face-to-face confrontation with the accuser, and an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser. In the 2004 decision Crawford v. Washington, the Supreme Court emphasized that the right to confront one’s accusers could not be taken away in cases where judges believe that testimonial hearsay evidence is reliable, because such hearsay evidence had not had its reliability tested through the procedural crucible of cross-examination.[1].

So i guess the 6th Amendment "is not one of those things that is rooted in American values".

Oh, the things i learn!

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