Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gray v. Maryland case brief

Gray v. Maryland case brief summary
523 U.S. 185 (1998)

On writ of certiorari, petitioner sought review of order affirming his conviction by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, asserting that the admission into evidence of a redacted confession by non-testifying co-defendant violated petitioner's Sixth Amendment confrontation rights.

Petitioner was convicted of a crime to which another defendant had confessed. At petitioner's trial, the non-testifying co-defendant's confession, which implicated petitioner, was redacted and admitted into evidence.


  • The Court held that in general, a co-defendant's confession was a powerfully incriminating extrajudicial statement which, insulated from cross-examination, violated a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment rights. 
  • If a non-testifying co-defendant's confession was redacted to eliminate the criminal defendant's name and any reference to his or her existence, there was no violation of Sixth Amendment confrontation rights. 
  • However, as the confession used in petitioner's case was redacted simply by replacing petitioner's name with a blank space or the word "deleted," petitioner's confrontation rights were violated.


The Court vacated the order affirming petitioner's conviction because a confession from a non-testifying co-defendant was admitted at petitioner's trial in violation of petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.

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

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