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Name: People v. Castille
Case #: A089623
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/30/2003
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 7/30/03; 3/22/04 Cert. granted, case vacated & remanded in light of Crawford.
Summary

Three defendants were tried together in a murder case. After their arrests, they participated in a joint interview after each had waived his right to remain silent. Once a statement was made by one of them, the other two were asked if what the original speaker had said was correct. In the vast majority of instances, each confirmed the original statements were true, and on occasion, corrected and clarified facts. At the conclusion of the interview, each expressly affirmed that he agreed with everything that had been discussed in the interview. The court held that the defendants were not deprived of their right to cross-examination and confrontation because the statements fell under two firmly rooted exceptions to the hearsay rule: 1) statements of a party, and 2) adoptive admissions. As to one statement by defendant Shields (that his gun went off by accident versus his codefendant’s statement that Shields was aiming at the clerk and shot), the court concluded that Shields’ later response to whether the codefendant’s account was true was, at best equivocal (among other things, he said, “If [the codefendant] says it’s true, it’s true” and did not deny the codefendant’s account). The jury was properly instructed on adoptive admissions, and it was up to the jury to decide if the equivocal statement constituted an adoptive admission.