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Name: People v. Costello
Case #: E037674
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/12/2007
Subsequent History: review granted 4/11/07, S150173

Under the 6th amendment right to confrontation, testimonial statements are not admissable at trial unless the declarant is unavailable and has been subject to cross-examination. Testimonial evidence includes a victim’s statements to police responding to a report of domestic violence. However, the rule of forfeiture by wrongdoing renders the confrontation clause unavailable to a defendant who procures the absence of the witness at trial, regardless of defendant’s motive – namely, defendant need not to have intended to keep the witness from testifying. In this murder case, the court admitted six sets of spontaneous statements by the victim to the police during prior separate bad acts. The court found that by permitting the evidence, defendant would be prohibited from benefitting from his wrongdoing. [Issue currently pending before the California Supreme Court in People v. Giles, review granted December 22, 2004, S129852.]