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Name: People v. Song
Case #: C042456
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/02/2004

During appellant’s “one strike” trial for kidnap and sex offenses, statements by a codefendant that appellant forced the victim into the car were admitted. The respondent conceded that this was Aranda-Bruton error, but argued that it was not prejudicial. Appellant argued that it was prejudicial because it corroborated and bolstered the credibility of the victim. The trial court instructed that the statements by any defendant after his arrest not be considered against any other defendant. The appellate court held that the admission of the statements was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt as to the sex offenses, but not as to the kidnap charge. Where there is both Aranda-Bruton error and Crawford error, the limiting instruction is insufficient to eliminate the Crawford error. A limiting instruction is not always an adequate substitute for the right of cross-examination. The prosecution’s case on the sex offenses was strong, but the improperly admitted statements related to the central issue of the kidnap, i.e. whether the victim went with appellant willingly.