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Name: Delgadillo v. Woodford
Case #: 07-55089
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 06/03/2008

A state habeas court may apply Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36, retroactively on collateral review. In 2000, Delgadillo was charged in California with spousal abuse, assault, and criminal threats. The victim provided statements to police officers, a nurse, and co-workers implicating Delgadillo, but at the preliminary hearing denied telling them that Delgadillo had abused her. She did not appear at trial and the court declared her unavailable and allowed the state to present her preliminary hearing testimony, as well as the testimony of the police, nurse, and coworkers regarding the victim’s prior inconsistent statements. After Delgadillo’s conviction became final, the U. S. Supreme Court announced its new constitutional rule of criminal procedure in Crawford addressing the confrontation clause. In a subsequent state habeas action, the California court rejected Delgadillo’s claim that the trial court violated his confrontation rights by permitting the state to introduce the victim’s preliminary hearing testimony. The state declined to decide the matter under a pre-Crawford standard and ruled that Delgadillo had not demonstrated that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated under Crawford. Delgadillo filed his federal habeas action, arguing that under Danforth v. Minnesota (2008) __ U.S. __ [128 S.Ct. 1029], Crawford was erroneously applied retroactively. The appellate court found no error, noting that the rule of non-retroactivity applies only to federal habeas actions and is not binding on state habeas courts and that California was free to apply Crawford. The court deferred to the state’s finding that under Crawford there was no violation of Delgadillo’s Confrontation Clause rights.