The Yale Law Journal

December 2012

Confronting Crawford v. Washington in the Lower Courts

Dylan O. Keenan

122 Yale L.J. 782 (2012).

Crawford v. Washington is arguably the most significant criminal procedure decision of the last decade. Critics have argued that the Crawford line is a doctrinal muddle that has led to arbitrary and unpredictable results in the lower courts. I respond to this critique by presenting results from the first large-scale empirical analysis of post-Crawford Confrontation Clause cases in the lower courts. The results show that courts have emphasized two factors—the presence of a state actor and the presence of an injured party—to evaluate whether a statement is testimonial under Crawford. I then argue that, contrary to conventional wisdom, these results are not ambiguous or contradictory but instead consistent with the reasoning of Crawford and the underlying purposes of the Confrontation Clause.