Williamson v. United States case brief summary
512 U.S. 594 (1994)
The United States Court of Appeals for
the Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction on three drug
charges based in part on hearsay evidence of statements of a witness
who refused to testify. Defendant sought review by certiorari.
CASE FACTS Defendant was convicted of three drug
charges. At trial, a witness whose testimony ultimately led to
defendant's arrest, refused to testify despite being held in
contempt. The Court found that the witness was unavailable and
admitted hearsay evidence by a police officer of the witness's
statement that included statements incriminating him and defendant,
under the exception to the hearsay rule for statements against the
interest of the declarant. Defendant's conviction was affirmed on
The Court reversed, holding that the statements against
interest of the declarant exception to the hearsay rule did not allow
admission of non-self-inculpatory statements, even if they were made
within a broader narrative that was generally self-inculpatory.
CONCLUSION The Court vacated the judgment and
remanded the case for further proceedings.
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