Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bruton v. United States case brief

Bruton v. United States case brief summary
391 U.S. 123 (1968)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant challenged a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which affirmed defendant's conviction. He claimed error in the trial judge's instruction to the jury that although the accomplice's confession was competent evidence against him it was inadmissible hearsay against petitioner and had to be disregarded in determining petitioner's guilt or innocence.

CASE FACTS
At a joint trial of defendant and his alleged accomplice, the accomplice did not testify, but the government introduced the accomplice's oral confession, which stated that the accomplice and defendant had committed the robbery. Both defendant and the accomplice were convicted. The court of appeals set aside the accomplice's conviction on the ground that his oral confession should not have been received in evidence against him.However, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's conviction because the trial judge instructed the jury that although the accomplice's confession was competent evidence against the accomplice, it was inadmissible hearsay against defendant and had to be disregarded in determining defendant's guilt or innocence.

DISCUSSION
  • The Supreme Court reversed the decision, holding that despite the limiting instruction, the introduction of the accomplice's out of court confession at defendant's trial violated defendant's Sixth Amendment right to cross-examine witnesses against him.
CONCLUSION

The court reversed the judgment from the appellate court.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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