Use Of Witness’s Prior Testimony Is Upheld

1970

In California v. Green, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that it does not violate a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights to allow into evidence a prior sworn statement that a witness gave at a preliminary hearing. The witness appeared at trial but was unable to give clear testimony about his earlier statement. Citing its 1895 opinion in Mattox v. United States, the Court allows the witness’s statement to come into evidence. The Court finds that the witness’s inability to remember key facts makes him just as unhelpful as a dead witness. But, like the testimony allowed in the Mattox case, since “it had been given under oath and the witness had been cross-examined by the defendant’s lawyer,” it was allowed.