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Davis v. Washington

Supreme Court of the United States

March 20, 2006, Argued ; June 19, 2006, Decided

(No. 05-5224), (No. 05-5705)

Opinion

 [*817]  [**2270]   Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases require us to determine when statements made to law enforcement personnel during a 911 call or at a crime scene are "testimonial" and thus subject to the requirements of the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause.

The relevant statements in Davis v. Washington, No. 05-5224, were made to a 911 emergency operator on February 1, 2001. When the operator answered the initial call, the connection terminated before anyone spoke. She reversed the call,  [**2271]  and Michelle McCottry answered. In the ensuing conversation, the operator ascertained that McCottry was involved in a domestic disturbance with her former boyfriend Adrian Davis, the petitioner in this case:

"911 Operator: Hello.

"Complainant: Hello.

"911 Operator: What's going on?

"Complainant: He's here jumpin' on me again.  [****8]  

"911 Operator: Okay. Listen to me carefully. Are you in a house or an apartment?

"Complainant: I'm in a house.

"911 Operator: Are there any weapons?

"Complainant: No. He's usin' his fists.

"911 Operator: Okay. Has he been drinking?

"Complainant: No.

"911 Operator: Okay, sweetie. I've got help started. Stay on the line with me, okay?

"Complainant: I'm on the line.

 [*818]  "911 Operator: Listen to me carefully. Do you know his last name?

"Complainant: It's Davis.

"911 Operator: Davis? Okay, what's his first name?

"Complainant: Adran

"911 Operator: What is it?

"Complainant: Adrian.

"911 Operator: Adrian?

"Complainant: Yeah.

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547 U.S. 813 *; 126 S. Ct. 2266 **; 165 L. Ed. 2d 224 ***; 2006 U.S. LEXIS 4886 ****; 74 U.S.L.W. 4356; 30 A.L.R.6th 599; 70 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 472; 19 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 299

ADRIAN MARTELL DAVIS, Petitioner v. WASHINGTON, HERSHEL HAMMON, Petitioner v. INDIANA

Subsequent History:  [****1] On remand at, Remanded by  Hammon v. State, 853 N.E.2d 477, 2006 Ind. LEXIS 793 (Ind., Sept. 7, 2006)

Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF WASHINGTON. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIANA.

 State v. Davis, 154 Wn.2d 291, 111 P.3d 844, 2005 Wash. LEXIS 462 (2005) Hammon v. State, 829 N.E.2d 444, 2005 Ind. LEXIS 541 (Ind., 2005)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

interrogation, testimonial, cases, questions, emergency, formalized, deposition, declarant, hearsay, police officer, witnesses, courts, cross-examination, nontestimonial, circumstances, conversation, excluding, solemnity, targeted, answers, testimonial statement, primary purpose, investigate, abuses, conceivable, resemblance, deceased, ongoing, parte, police questioning

Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Right to Confrontation