Supreme Court Considers Domestic Homicide Case
Friday, June 6, 2008 8:55 AM

Later this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court will release their decision in the domestic homicide case, Giles v. California.  The appeal is centered on whether or not the California Supreme Court should have admitted a police officer’s statement of the threats made by the appellant, as reported by the deceased wife a few weeks before her murder. 


The case raises the important issue of the defendant’s right to confrontation under the Sixth Amendment – because the wife is dead, the defendant is unable to cross-examine or refute what she said.  The questioning by the Justices during oral arguments raised the other side of this important issue – the witness is not present because of acts of the defendant, and a person should not benefit if they caused the absence.


The decision made in this case will help to clarify the “confrontation clause” for further cases, but may also have a severe negative impact if the California Supreme Court decision is overturned.  In the future, prosecutors would face greater difficulties in cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual violence cases if they are unable to enter these sorts of statements into the record. 


For the California Supreme Court decision, please click here.


For the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to grant review, click here.


Compiled from: "Supreme Court Considers Domestic Homidice Case," Family Violence Prevention Fund, 3 June 2008.