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Name: People v. Schmaus
Case #: B147015
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 06/12/2003
Subsequent History: None
Summary

Schmaus, Beattie, and Black were convicted of first degree murder while lying in wait. At their joint trial, Glenn testified that he and the defendants killed the victim because he committed a sex offense. Before trial, the prosecutor moved in limine to admit Schmaus’s statement to Arce that he, Glenn, and “another guy” killed the victim. Schmaus did not testify at trial and was therefore never cross-examined. The trial court admitted the testimony of Arce, but instructed the jury it was not to consider the statements against any defendant not involved in the conversation. On appeal, Beattie contended that admission of the statement violated Beattie’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation under Aranda and Bruton. The appellate court here held that the statements were inadmissable. The statement did implicate Beattie’s confrontation rights even though the reference was to “another guy” and did not mention him by name. The statement was double-hearsay from a convicted criminal with a hostile relationship with Schmaus and a motive to lie, and therefore could not pass a trustworthiness test. Beattie did not have the opportunity to confront Schmaus and cross-examine him about the statements, since he did not testify. Therefore, the admission of the testimony about Schmaus’s statements was error. However, the evidence was merely cumulative of witness Glenn’s express identification of Beattie as one of the men who participated in the murder. Therefore, the error was harmless.